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Little is known regarding paediatric medical emergency calls to Danish Emergency Medical Dispatch Centres (EMDC). This study aimed to investigate these calls, specifically the medical issues leading to them and the pre-hospital units dispatched to the paediatric emergencies.
We performed a retrospective, observational study on paediatric medical emergency calls managed by the EMDC in the Region of Southern Denmark in February 2016. We reviewed audio recordings of emergency calls and ambulance records to identify calls concerning patients ≤ 15 years. We examined EMDC dispatch records to establish how the medical issues leading to these calls were classified and which pre-hospital units were dispatched to the paediatric emergencies. We analysed the data using descriptive statistics.
Of a total of 7052 emergency calls in February 2016, 485 (6.9%) concerned patients ≤ 15 years. We excluded 19 and analysed the remaining 466. The reported medical issues were commonly classified as: “seizures” (22.1%), “sick child” (18.9%) and “unclear problem” (12.9%). The overall most common pre-hospital response was immediate dispatch of an ambulance with sirens and lights with a supporting physician-manned mobile emergency care unit (56.4%). The classification of medical issues and the dispatched pre-hospital units varied with patient age.
We believe our results might help focus the paediatric training received by emergency medical dispatch staff on commonly encountered medical issues, such as the symptoms and conditions pertaining to the symptom categories “seizures” and “sick child”. Furthermore, the results could prove useful in hypothesis generation for future studies examining paediatric medical emergency calls.
Almost 7% of all calls concerned patients ≤ 15 years. Medical issues pertaining to the symptom categories “seizures”, “sick child” and “unclear problem” were common and the calls commonly resulted in urgent pre-hospital responses.