In a startling study by the Journal of American Medical Association Network Open, America’s hospitals received a dismal score of 69.5 out of 100 in pediatric readiness. Maggie Hroncich reports in The New York Sun:
When Phyllis Rabinowitz and her husband brought their lethargic newborn baby to an emergency room, they were told not to worry about it and that they were being overprotective. “Let me get to the real emergency down the hall,” she says doctors told them.
The next morning, their daughter, Rebecca, passed away from a misdiagnosed enteroviral infection. She would have recently celebrated her 16th birthday.
It’s a tragic story but not an isolated one.
“It can happen to anyone, anywhere,” Mrs. Rabinowitz tells the Sun. “As we were grieving her death, we were not understanding how this could happen. Because she was released healthy. And we took her to an ER that said she was okay.”
She quickly learned America has higher infant mortality rates and lower pediatric readiness than many other developed countries. Despite children representing one in four emergency visits, American hospitals only received a 69.5 out of 100 score by the 2023 National Assessment of Pediatric Readiness study by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open – the equivalent of a “D” grade.
In a study of 11 states over six years, JAMA found that 1,442 children’s deaths could have been prevented if their emergency rooms had been better equipped.
“Many hospitals don’t even have the basic pediatric supplies and equipment, let alone the training for knowing the signs and symptoms and how to treat children,” Mrs. Rabinowitz says. “It’s literally a national crisis, and people don’t know about it.”
The lack of emergency room preparedness is a problem that has gone on for decades, culminating in a growing number of medical professionals and parents calling for reform.
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