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Haitian Children Need Specific Relief Efforts

Large number of injured calls for specialized pediatric care, researchers say

THURSDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Children are likely to account for about 44 percent of the estimated number of Haitians injured in the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake -- information that could be used to guide rescuers, say U.S. researchers.

The statistical study by the team at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California determined that more than 110,000 children under age 18 are among the 250,000 injured people in Haiti. The researchers have set up a blog to help direct the choice and distribution of relief supplies.

Injured children have special requirements, including thinner hypodermic needles, children's doses of drugs and doctors who specialize in pediatrics.

For their study, the researchers used a software tool called the Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (PEDSS), designed to help medical service providers better plan for, train for and respond to serious incidents and disasters affecting children.

PEDSS uses statistical methods to estimate how many potential victims of a disaster in a specific location will be children and what types of medications and supplies they'll need.

The system analyzes seven age groups, ranging from 0-1 months up to 12 to 18 year-olds. It also predicts how many injuries are expected for each of 11 diagnoses, ranging from abdominal trauma to spinal injury, in each age group.

For example, PEDSS estimates that about 1,000 children ages 6 to 8 suffered crush injuries and that 265,263 doses of calcium gluconate 1g/10mL will be needed to treat these victims.

More information

The World Health Organization has more about the Haiti earthquake.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Southern California, news release, Jan. 27, 2010

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