Objectives: 1) To determine whether demographic characteristics of prehospital pediatric patients evaluated, but not transported, by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel were different than those of transported patients in a large metropolitan area, 2) to determine whether chart documentation for non-transported (NT) patients by EMS personnel varied among paramedic and ambulance units, and 3) to describe the most common complaints of pediatric non-transported patients.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of children 12 years of age and less who were evaluated, but not transported, by EMS personnel over a 1-year period. We incorporated a nested case control study, comparing the demographic and presenting characteristics of the NT and transported children (eg, age, gender, ethnicity, and time of day). Among NT patients, significant elements of chart documentation as completed by personnel on paramedic versus ambulance units were compared. Chief complaints of the NT children were described.
Results: During the study period, 3057 patients met inclusion criteria for cases, and 12,302 met the criteria for controls. Non-transport was less common in the first two years of life, among Hispanic patients, and during the hours of midnight to 6 am. Among NT patients, personnel of paramedic units had significantly better documentation of contact with on-line medical command (OLMC) (52% vs. 33%) than did personnel of ambulance units. Injuries (27.7%), motor vehicle accidents (20.4%), and choking episodes (10.2%) were the most common complaints among NT patients.
Conclusions: In this large metropolitan population, non-transport was less common in children under 2 years of age and during the early morning hours. Hispanic children were more likely to be transported. Ambulance units were significantly less likely than paramedic units to document contact with OLMC. Injuries were the most common complaints of pediatric NT patients.