Head of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), Dr. Mara Hosang, is urging parents and caregivers to seek medical care for sick children, at the nearest health facility.
In an interview with JIS News, Dr. Hosang explained that the first choice for many parents when seeking medical care for children is the BHC.
“Most parents get very scared when they see things happening with their children and they are not sure, and they tend to turn up at Bustamante Hospital,” she said.
“We love that people speak highly of Bustamante and they regard all our skill sets; however, sometimes it’s to the detriment of the child, because the parents may have passed multiple facilities before stopping at Bustamante,” Dr. Hosang added.
The Paediatric Emergency Physician pointed out that parents have come from as far away as Montego Bay with a child who is unwell.
The A&E Department Head warned that the outcome of starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for a child who is in cardiac arrest, is usually very poor.
“Many times, by the time the child gets to us they are at that point where they are almost about to go into cardiac arrest and the outcome is not always favourable,” she lamented.
Dr. Hosang identified the most common cause of cardiac arrest in the paediatric population as respiratory arrest or shock and strongly advocated that medical care be sought for a sick child at the nearest health centre, hospital or doctor’s office.
Given the poor outcome for CPR in children, Dr. Hosang contended that “for paediatrics, prevention is key, so I would encourage all persons who interact with children regularly, such as parents, teachers, especially early-childhood educators, and persons who have nurseries, to learn Basic Life Support (BLS)”.
She added that the BLS course is offered at several institutions, including the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.
“BLS entails teaching persons how to treat a child [and adult, but specifically children] who have cardiac arrest, and in that case, the most important step is securing the airway, getting air into the lungs, so you can oxygenate the heart and the brain, and then we work on the ‘push hard, push fast’ for the paediatric population,” the A&E Head explained.
Dr. Hosang indicated that positive outcomes do happen at times.
“We have a good team at Bustamante, and we are supported not only by the emergency department but our medical and anaesthetic departments and the team on the wards as well,” she said.
Dr. Hosang was speaking against the background of CPR Week, which was observed from August 22 to 28.
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