Objective: To determine the preparedness of pediatric offices that had activated emergency medical services (EMS) for a critically ill child requiring airway management.
Methods: Fifteen patients who initially presented to pediatric or family practice offices but required EMS activation and cardiac and/or respiratory support were identified from a previous prospective study of airway management in children. Two to 4 years after the emergency requiring EMS activation, the offices were contacted to complete a written survey about office preparedness for pediatric emergencies.
Results: Eight of 15 offices (53%) returned a survey. Pediatricians staffed all responding offices, and all offices were within 5 miles of an emergency department. Airway emergencies were the most common emergencies seen in the offices. Availability of emergency equipment and medications varied. All offices stocked albuterol, and most (7/8) had an oxygen source with a flowmeter. However, only half of the offices had a fast-acting anticonvulsant, and a quarter had no anticonvulsant. Three offices lacked bag-mask (manual) resuscitators with all appropriate sized masks, and 3 offices lacked suction. The most common reasons cited for not stocking all emergency equipment and drugs were quick response time of EMS and proximity to an emergency department.
Conclusions: Even after treating a critically ill child who required advanced cardiac and/or pulmonary support, offices were ill prepared to handle another serious pediatric illness or injury.