Kid care

Aug 9, 2000 at 12:00 am
Thanks to some Detroit paramedics — and their supporters — the city’s children will be getting the kind of emergency medical care they deserve.

About three years ago, some paramedics asked Dr. Karen Randall, chief of emergency pediatrics at Sinai-Grace Hospital, to provide informal training sessions on pediatric care.

“Some of us feel that it’s our weakest area,” says Vince Fourment, who has been a paramedic 12 years.

He says that only 20 of the 800 hours of training required to be a paramedic are devoted to pediatric care. Also, since children make up only 5 percent to 10 percent of the 125,000 emergency runs paramedics handle each year, their pediatric skills get rusty.

“Karen was a godsend,” says Fourment, who helped organize the training.

Randall also surveyed more than 100 cities to see how Detroit’s emergency care compares with care elsewhere. She found that Detroit paramedics do not have some equipment or training that most cities have had for years.

Randall says she used the survey results to help convince the city to update aspects of its emergency care.

“I think Dr. Randall brought it to the forefront and set the stage for people to look at it,” says Dick Stein, who oversees public safety for the Archer administration.

But Randall is not the only one who helped do this. Sue Smith, a trauma nurse coordinator at Children’s Hospital, helped obtain a $30,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities that will pay for some of the new pediatric care equipment and training. (An anonymous donor gave the hospital another $30,000 for pediatric training.)

Smith says that the hospital wants to ensure that injured kids get the best possible care and needs to look beyond its doors to do this.

“We believe that the care of injured patients begins in the street,” says Smith. “And who is providing care in the street is EMS.”

The grant will pay for 40 pediatric bags containing state-of-the-art emergency care equipment paramedics need. Paramedics are especially excited about the Broselow tape, which measures a child’s height and weight and provides corresponding medication dosages.

“It’s a wonderful tool and I can’t wait to get it,” says Marty Rademaker, who has been a Detroit paramedic seven years. Without the Broselow tape, Rademaker says that precious time is wasted guessing a child’s height and manually calculating medication dosages.

“We are bringing them up to where a lot of systems already are in the country,” says Smith. Ann Mullen is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail [email protected]