Pediatricians should ask about the emergency-preparedness programs at all the hospitals where they work or admit patients. In times of crisis, there may be a need for transfers or discharges based on various clinical standards or modified hospital admission policies. To assist hospitals in such acts and to have the ability to look after their own patients, pediatricians must know how each hospital has intended to deal with these events.
COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Difficulties
Two important elements cited in all tests of tragedy, terrorism, and public health crisis events are communication and information technology systems. Telecommunications, such as telephone, radio, 2-way radio, video, fax, and electronic imaging through satellite transmission, have been used in response to crises. Using the Internet and e-mail may also prove effective.
The particular needs of children have just recently begun to be considered and recognized in disaster planning and terrorism preparedness. Planning must consider children that are at home, in school and child care, or in transit in addition to children who can’t be reunited with their families. Children with special healthcare needs are particularly vulnerable, particularly if their survival is dependent upon technological means.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to disasters and terrorism events due to anatomic, physiologic, and clinical variables in addition to developmental and mental concerns. Although children may respond more quickly to therapeutic intervention, they’re more susceptible to several brokers and conditions and more likely to deteriorate if not monitored carefully.
The release of biological or chemical radicals would affect children through several mechanisms. By way of instance, because children become dehydrated easily and have minimal reserve, they’re at higher risk than adults when exposed to agents that can lead to diarrhea or vomiting. Agents which may cause only mild symptoms in an adult could result in hypovolemic shock in a baby.