Prehospital Transport for Pediatric Trauma: A Comparison of Private Transport and Emergency Medical Services

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Abstract

Objectives

We describe the demographics of pediatric patients with trauma transferred using private transport (PT) versus emergency medical services (EMS) and evaluate the potential impact on their treatment and outcome.

Methods

We accessed data from our national trauma registry, a prospectively collected database. Data were extracted on all patients with trauma admitted to our institution between January 2011 and June 2013, with injury severity score (ISS) higher than 8. We categorized unstable injuries as head injuries, spinal injuries, or proximal long bone fractures. Major trauma was defined as the presence of any of the following: ISS of 16 or higher, intensive care unit (ICU) admission or death.

Results

Ninety children were studied, including 27 major trauma and 66 unstable injuries; 69 patients (77%) used PT. Most patients with major trauma (17/27, 63%) and unstable injuries (50/66, 76%) used PT. Compared with EMS patients, PT patients were younger, smaller, took longer for emergency department physician review and stayed longer in the emergency department. Rates of ICU admission were similar in both groups, but length of stay in ICU and total hospital stay were shorter in the PT group despite similar proportions of major trauma and unstable injuries as well as median ISS. Each group had 1 mortality.

Conclusions

Most children with major trauma and unstable injuries were brought by PT, risking deterioration en route. Nevertheless, this does not seem to translate to worse outcomes overall.

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