Aim We examined the safety of not transporting all paediatric out-of-hospital (OOH) emergency patients to emergency department by ambulance.
Methods We report observations from a dataset covering all (n=2387) emergency medical services (EMS) responses for paediatric patients (age 0 to 15 years) in 2015 in Helsinki, Finland (population 628 208, paediatric population 93 054 during 2015). Time intervals, patient characteristics, vital measurements, diagnoses, medical treatments, procedures and outcomes were analysed.
Results The incidence of EMS-treated paediatric OOH emergencies was 3.8 per 1 000 inhabitants and 25,7 per 1 000 in 0–15 year-old inhabitants. There were 1 069 (44.8%) non-transported paediatric patients. In 926 (86.6%) cases decision of not transporting a patient was made without consulting a doctor. 176 (16.5%) of non-transported patients got to a tertiary university hospital emergency department within 3 days by other means, comprising 184 visits. 115 (62.5%) of the visits were encouraged by emergency medical personnel. Only 3 patients’ appearance was other than good at presentation. 90 (8.4%) of the patients were medicated at the emergency department. 21 (2.0%) of the patients were given respiratory support (including any form of inhalations). 28 (2.6%) had to be admitted to the hospital; 11 (1.0%) of them for more than 2 nights. None of the non-transported patients were admitted to the intensive care unit within 3 days following the call or died during the 1 year follow-up period.
Conclusion Transporting selectively those paediatric patients by ambulance, who need transportation the most, appears to be safe in the light of this dataset.
Finnish Official Statistics – Suomen virallinen tilasto (SVT): Väestörakenne [verkkojulkaisu]. ISSN=1797-5379. Helsinki: Tilastokeskus [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jan 15]. Available from: http://www.stat.fi/til/vaerak/tau.html
Conflict of interest None declared.
Funding Helsinki University Central Hospital, The Finnish Society of Anaesthesiologists
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