Children have a tendency to crash quickly, so you have to move quickly if you’re going to keep them from going downhill.
When Seconds Count: A New Tool for Pediatric Emergencies
Illinois EMT crews have a new tool in their arsenal that can help save a child’s life – when seconds matter.
Providing emergency treatment for children can be one of the most stressful situations for first responders, but now EMS crews in central Illinois can take math out of the equation to provide emergency care quickly and safely.
“The least favorite type of call they’re going to have is a pediatric patient,” said Jim Hargitt, EMS Coordinator of SELCAS Ambulance out of Fairbury, IL. “They may be young, they can’t tell you what’s going on, or you have the emotions involved of somebody that’s your own child or grandchild’s age or the parent there who is quite distraught – that sort of thing. So it just adds a lot of tension to a scene.”
OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, IL recently handed out 15 pediatric Handtevy Systems to crews throughout central Illinois. The Handtevy system is an age-based pediatric resuscitation system that helps emergency crews determine how much medication a child needs in an emergency based on their age and weight.
This allows health care providers to work quickly and accurately in stressful pediatric emergency situations - eliminating any medication calculations.
“Children have a tendency to crash quickly, so you have to move quickly if you’re going to keep them from going downhill,” said Hargitt.
Gabriel Vincent, Manager of Pontiac IL-based Duffy Ambulance Service agrees.
“Working on a kid, whether it’s a life threatening situation or something as simple as a fever can be very stressful,” he said. “So having our protocols simplified where we’re not doing math, where we’re not trying to figure out .01 milligrams or 0.1 milligrams and multiplying by kilograms and then multiplying by pounds. That’s a lot of stuff to try and think about when you’ve got a sick kid in front of you.”
When responding to a call with the Handtevy System on board, all first responders have to do is plug in the patient's age and weight. The system then gives the appropriate dosage based on the situation. This replaces the previous best practice of measuring the child with a tape, and using mental math to calculate the correct dosage.
“Instead of focusing on your patient, you’re worried about what the dosage is, because you’re trying to figure that out, and you might miss something when you’re assessing your patient. This kind of helps alleviate that – you’re focused on your patient because you know just by looking at the book exactly what you need to give and how much,” remarked Andy Larsen, EMS System Manager at OSF Saint James Medical Center.”
The funding to purchase the Handtevy units came from the 2016 OSF Foundation EMS Golf Tournament. Each system comes with a $1,100.00 price tag.
OSF Saint James distributed the Handtevy System to EMS crews in Pontiac, Fairbury, Winona, Toluca, Minonk, Gridley and Seneca, Illinois.