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Identifying Children’s Injuries: Study to Determine Best Practices

Nov. 4, 2013

The Injury Research Center (IRC) at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Services to determine the best practices for identifying children with severe injuries before they arrive at the hospital. This information is used to ensure injured children are transported to the most appropriate hospital and the health care providers and equipment needed to treat them are prepared prior to their arrival. This could save valuable minutes in their care which can lead to better outcomes.

E. Brooke Lerner, PhD, professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at MCW and Deputy Director of the IRC, is the primary investigator for the study, which will be conducted at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and at children’s hospitals in Rochester, N.Y., and Dallas, Texas.

The goal of the study is to ensure that severely injured children receive the most appropriate care based on their injuries, which should improve outcomes while minimizing costs.

“The current system of categorizing injuries was created for adult patients, and we know that children sustain different types of injuries and respond differently to their injuries. What we learn from this study will help determine best practices for rapidly identifying pediatric patients with severe traumatic injuries in the prehospital setting,” said Dr. Lerner.

Children transported via ambulance with an injury to the three hospitals involved in the study will be included in the study. Researchers will categorize the type of injury sustained, and then correlate their signs and symptoms with their treatment needs. Based on that data, Dr. Lerner’s team will establish parameters that dictate the need to bring a child to a trauma center, and, in more serious injuries, the need to activate a trauma team to meet a child in the emergency department upon arrival.

This project is supported by the National Institutes of Health under award number 1R01HD075786-01.

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