Background: General pediatricians in Israel are actively involved in the initial evaluation, resuscitation and management of traumatized children. However, pediatric trauma care is not a part of pediatric specialty training in Israel, and the few Advanced Trauma Life Support courses per year are insufficient for most pediatricians working in accident and emergency care.
Objective: To examine the value of the course in relation to the limited resources available for such training.
Methods: A telephone survey of 115 pediatricians who had taken the course between 1990 and 1994 was conducted. The responding physicians (67%) were asked to complete a specially designed questionnaire on life-saving procedures that were taught in the course. In addition, they were asked to subjectively assess the practical utility of the course.
Results: Forty-three (56%) pediatricians reported that they routinely treated both adult and pediatric trauma cases. Of these, 81% performed 27 life-saving ATLS procedures. Pediatric trauma was treated by only 22 (28%), of whom 72.3% performed 18 life-saving ATLS procedures. These pediatricians ranked the courses as being "very high" to "high" in impact.
Conclusions: These figures indicate that an ATLS course designed specifically for pediatricians can markedly improve pediatric trauma care. To ensure standard education and patient care, such a course should be developed and made a mandatory component of residency training. Further studies to examine the objective impact of the courses on pediatric trauma care should be carried out.