Back to Annual Meeting
Back to Annual Meeting
APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Pediatric trauma center designation: The surgeon's perspective

R. Todd Maxson, MD, FACS, Injury Prevention - Trauma Service, Children's Medical Center Dallas, 1935 Motor Street, Dallas, TX 75235, 214-456-7000, TMaxson@seton.org

Care of pediatric patients requires specialized equipment and expertise best provided in facilities specializing in pediatric medicine. Acutely injured children should be treated by a multidisciplinary trauma team, who is accessible at all times and overseen by a surgeon with expertise in both the care of children and the trauma disease process. Trauma center designation guarantees hospitals will provide access to 24-hour comprehensive trauma services, such as immediate access to the operating room and the intensive care units, resulting in improved clinical outcomes. Improvements include a 25% decrease in the risk of death, decreases in morbidity, shortened lengths of stay, and less disability upon discharge when compared to patients treated in a non-designated trauma center. Additionally, many successful pediatric trauma centers have close working relationships with academic medical schools. This relationship produces interest in pediatric trauma care in surgical trainees and other medical specialists, and promotes pediatric injury control as an academic pursuit.

The hospital has the challenge of recruiting a pediatric surgeon with interest and expertise in care of the injured child to serve as the Trauma Medical Director; such surgeons are difficult to obtain. The Trauma Medical Director's task is organization of the medical staff into a collaborative group with the goal of providing the highest level of care for injured patients. The challenges include establishing fair and equitable compensation plans for physicians who provide these services, especially those required to be “on-call,” and recruiting nurses and other team members willing to specialize in pediatric trauma care.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: EMS/Trauma, Access to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Systems of Care for Pediatric Trauma: Issues and Experiences

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA