Columbus doctors study best way to transport critically injured children

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A research team which includes multiple Columbus doctors is hoping to improve patient outcomes of children in some of the most challenging medical situations.

When a child in critical condition is being rushed to the hospital, every moment matters.

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“Airway management is one of the most important procedures paramedics perform,” said Dr. Henry Wang, the principal investigator on the research team.

Paramedics have three main techniques to help patients breathe, according to doctors and first responders. Members with the Columbus Division of Fire used a mannequin to show how they work. The first involves a mask which goes over the mouth. The second and newest method of the three uses a special device which goes into the mouth and sits over the opening of the trachea. The third and most involved method is intubation.

“The techniques used for airway management by paramedics are very difficult and it’s important we discover the best approaches when caring for critically ill children,” Wang said.

Ohio State University, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Columbus Division of Fire are part of what’s called the Pediatric Prehospital Airway Resuscitation Trial. The goal is to figure out which method is best for patients.

“Prehospital providers are often the first individuals to provide healthcare to children in an emergency and every minute counts particularly when we are talking about children that are having trouble breathing,” said Dr. Julie Leonard, a site investigator for the study.

The study will look at 65 emergency medical service (EMS) agencies from 10 cities, including Columbus. It’s being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“There’s a lot of information a paramedic has to learn and then apply on the job when they’re caring for children. So we’re trying to simplify things and make it much easier so they know exactly what the best method is to care for a child under these circumstances,” Leonard said.

Data collection will start this summer and will go on for five years.

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