Media Home | Contact Us
More Work Needed to Ensure U.S. Hospitals Equipped and Staffed to Handle Pediatric Emergency Patients
Although the majority of children who need emergency medical care are brought
to hospitals that have appropriate emergency care specialists and equipment,
a significant number are treated at facilities that lack the recommended
pediatric equipment and a fully-trained staff, according to a new report
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The survey, conducted in 2002-2003, found the vast majority of children who need emergency care are brought to hospitals that see more than 10,000 pediatric patients each year. The survey found that these larger hospitals are more likely to have a pediatric ward, a pediatric intensive care unit and are also more likely to have a board-certified pediatric emergency physician on staff.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians set new pediatric emergency guidelines in 2001 calling for more pediatric services, medical expertise and supplies and equipment that are small enough for children. The guidelines followed a 1998 study of hospital emergency services for children conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which found that emergency and critical care of infants and children varied widely in different regions of the country and by different types of hospitals.
To learn how well hospitals were able to implement the 2001 guidelines, HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau arranged for questions to be added to CDC's National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey in 2002-2003 to measure hospital preparedness for pediatric emergencies.
Findings of the 2002-2003 survey:
* Ninety percent of all U.S. hospitals admitted pediatric
* Half the hospitals surveyed had on hand more than 85 percent
* Seventy-one percent of U.S. emergency departments had
* Sixty-two percent of emergency departments had board-certified
* Between 1998 and 2002-2003,
the percentage of hospitals with a
Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey conducted by CDC's National
Center for Health Statistics gathers detailed data
from a sample
of the nation's emergency departments. More information about
hospital preparedness for pediatric emergencies will be gathered in
"Availability of Pediatric Services and Equipment in Emergency
This page last updated February 28, 2006
States Department of Health and Human Services