Medical Air Transport and Pediatric Treatment Errors: What You Need to Know

When you’re working in medical air transport, you would encounter all kinds of patients. There will be times you have to care for and transport pediatric patients. While the experience may be highly rewarding, it can also be extremely challenging. As a result of this, many air ambulance paramedics and EMS providers are at risk of making pediatric treatment errors.

Reasons and Risk Factors of Pediatric Treatment Errors

Due to the delicate nature of their bodies, children are susceptible of getting critically ill in just a matter of seconds. This is where the skill and expertise of the medical air transport paramedic will make a huge difference. Be aware of the following risk factors of errors in pediatric treatment so you can provide better quality of care:

  • Insufficient training regarding pediatric patients
  • Infrequent hands-on experience dealing with pediatric patients
  • High stress levels compelling providers to scoop and run instead of staying and treating pediatric patients
  • Lack of appropriate equipment to care for and/or transport children in an air ambulance

Basics in Pediatric Treatment for Medical Air Transport Paramedics

In addition to the above risk factors, be aware of the following basic tips that will help you provide better care to pediatric patients:

  • Thoroughly assess pediatric patients to identify less-obvious medical conditions
  • Cross check everything before administering medications
  • Instead of relying on memory, contact medical control in case you have any queries
  • Coordinate with administrators regarding any system flaws or setbacks so as to improve on pediatric patient care

It’ll be important to stay calm and composed no matter how stressed you may feel in the beginning. If you panic, there’s a high risk of making mistakes in patient assessment and medicine administration.

Tips for Medical Air Transport Crews to Assess Pediatric Trauma Patients

When you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic or doctor, many of the cases you’ll be responding to will include trauma. In assessing trauma patients, it’s important that you thoroughly understand the trauma’s mechanisms and how those mechanisms can affect different body functions and organs. This is especially crucial when you’re working with pediatric patients who need medical air transport.

Pediatric Trauma Patient Assessment Tips in Medical Air Transport

Take a look at some of these tips and make the most of them when you have to care for a kid who has undergone physical trauma:

  • While the actual assessment process may be similar with that of an adult patient, pediatric patients may have difficulty participating in the assessment. Additionally, some of the patients may have difficulty understanding the assessment, which can prove to be a challenge.

    In some cases, the patient may be uncomfortable with your questions because you’re a stranger to them. So your initial task should be to calm the patient and then build a good rapport before you proceed with the assessment.

  • Begin with a visual assessment before you perform a hands-on treatment. This could be useful for understanding which areas will require more focus. For instance, there may be severe bruising on some parts of the body. This means you’ll need to give priority to those regions where the bruising occurs.
  • In your career as a medical air transport crew member, you might have encountered several patients who are in a state of compensated shock after a trauma. What you need to know is that pediatric patients can remain in this state for much longer than adult patients. However, if these mechanisms fail, it could be because the patient has suffered excessive blood loss and needs to get a transfusion immediately.

These basic tips should be able to guide you in the assessment of pediatric trauma patients, which can result in successful patient hand-offs. Look out for the next post to find out more tips on pediatric trauma patient assessment.

More on Stroke Care for Medical Flight Crews

As an air ambulance paramedic, your job is to improve the outcome for different medical conditions and injuries. So when it comes to stroke patients, you would be faced with a time-sensitive issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. You will need to transport the patient immediately to a facility that is equipped with a CT scanner and other equipment for stroke care. However, you can also make some effort to provide pre-hospital care during the medical flight to further improve the outcome.

Pre-Hospital Stroke Care for Medical Flight Paramedics

When it comes to stroke care, the goal is to help the brain cells survive. So your responsibility involves attending to the ups and downs that may occur during homeostasis. You can prevent serious issues through the medical flight by caring for the issues listed below:

  • Hypothermia – Although this may be beneficial for treatment in the future, you need to focus on maintaining normal body temperature for now. Try to prevent hyperthermia by removing any excess clothing and regulating the temperature in the aircraft. You should also prevent shivering, as this can increase body temperature.
  • Hypoxia – This decreases the oxygen supply to the brain cells, which calls for supplemental oxygen to ensure normal oxygen saturation.
  • Hypoglycemia – This withholds the primary energy source for the brain cells, meaning you will need to replenish the glucose supply without causing hyperglycemia.
  • Hypotension – This needs to be controlled through fluid resuscitation so as to ensure that the brain cells get enough oxygen and nutrients for survival. If the patient has normal blood pressure, use a saline lock to make sure it remains that way. In case of hypertension, you will need to follow directions given by the in-flight doctor.

Tips for Medical Flight Crews to Successfully Carry Out Patient Hand-Offs

You transport a patient to a hospital but after you leave, the hospital staff is left with vague information about the patient’s medical history and medications as well as allergies and assessment details. So the staff has to track you down to find out more information, resulting in a lot of wasted time and resources. The end result is a delay in providing emergency care in a potentially critical situation despite a quick medial flight. This makes it crucial to successfully carry out your patient hand-offs with all the vital information.

Come up with a Standard Procedure to Compile Hand-Off Report

The patient hand-off period should be considered as the point of contact between providers, where they share crucial information about the patient. Although there may be several differences in the setting and circumstances surrounding this contact point, you can still ensure to standardize how the information is shared.

Medical flight crews and ground ambulance crews alike can make use of the SBAR approach developed by TeamSTEPPS. This approach provides you with a framework to effectively communicate with other medical care providers. It involves providing information about:

  • Situation – Let them know exactly what’s going on with the patient
  • Background – Let them know about the clinical background and/or context
  • Assessment – Let them know about the details of the assessment you have carried out and what you think is the problem based on those reports
  • Recommendation – Let them know what you recommend should be the next step in medical care for the patient

Importance of Standardizing Report Procedure for Medical Flight Crews

Having a set framework to compile and communicate your hand-off report helps other medical teams in providing quick and efficient care without wasting much time. They can see to it that the patient gets the right kind of care they need when they need it.