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Child's Head Injury Doesn't Always Need CT Scan: Study
Date:5/9/2011

ssential part of decision-making," said Ghurabi. "The only negative thing is ERs are strapped for bed space across the country. So keeping a little kid crying for six hours is an issue. The better part of valor is often to order a CT scan."

A solution is for ER doctors to discuss the issue with parents, who might mistakenly think a CT scan is needed if a child bumps his head on the carpet, or that the ER is rationing care by not doing a scan, said Ghurabi.

"Parents are a key component in reducing the unnecessary use of expensive CT scans," he said. "Sit down and explain why you'd rather observe their son than irradiate him with the equivalent of 20 to 30 X-rays."

The study was funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration/Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Research, Training, and Education, and the Emergency Medical Services of Children Program.

More information

For more on the care of pediatric head injury, visit the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Network.

SOURCES: Lise E. Nigrovic, M.D., M.P.H., Children's Hospital Boston, and assistant professor, pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Wally Ghurabi, M.D., medical director, Nethercutt Emergency Center, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic Hospital; May 9, 2011, Pediatrics, online


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