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Pediatric disaster preparedness of a hospital network in a large metropolitan region

Rizaldy R. Ferrer, PhD, Darshi Balasuriya, MPH, Ellen Iverson, MPH, Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD, FAAP, FACS


Objectives: We describe pediatric-related emergency experiences and responses, disaster preparation and planning, emergency plan execution and evaluation, and hospital pediatric capabilities and vulnerabilities among a disaster response network in a large urban county in the West Coast of the United States.
Methods: Using semistructured key informant interviews, the authors conducted qualitative research between March and April 2008. Eleven hospitals and a representative from the community clinic association agreed to participate (86 percent response rate) and a total of 22 key informant interviews were completed. Data were analyzed using ATLAS.ti.v.5.0, a qualitative analytical software program.
Results: Although hospitals have infrastructure to respond in the event of a large-scale disaster, wellestablished disaster preparedness plans have not fully accounted for the needs of children. The general hospitals do not anticipate a surge of pediatric victims in the event of a disaster, and they expect that children will be transported to a children’s hospital as their conditions become stable.
Conclusions: Even hospitals with well-established disaster preparedness plans have not fully accounted for the needs of children during a disaster. Improved communication between disaster network hospitals is necessary as incorrect information still persists.


pediatric, disaster preparedness, hospital network

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