Last week, health care workers from community hospitals in St. Louis and around the country came to Saint Louis University to learn how to recognize and begin care for critically ill children.
Critically sick or injured children need a high level of specialized care but, in emergency situations when every second counts, that care can sometimes be too far away. The Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support (PFCCS) course, offered by SLU School of Medicine, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center and the Air Force/Missouri Air National Guard's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (C-STARS), is an intensive hands-on course designed to help participants perfect their skills.
In addition to lectures, the course uses high-fidelity pediatric simulation mannequins to mimic critically ill children that health care providers must "save" using their training and instincts. The high-fidelity pediatric simulators are programmed to interact with their caregivers, visibly getting better when they are treated correctly or getting much sicker and even turning blue when they aren't.
One of only five courses of its kind in the country, the PFCCS course has been exported to the Air National Guard to improve disaster medicine care, which often involves severely injured children. PFCCS has even been taught overseas in Indonesia, Columbia and Saudi Arabia.