By COLLEEN SCHRAPPEN
Shelby Cox, a longtime paramedic for an ambulance district in suburban St. Louis, loved her job.
But she sometimes felt uneasy answering calls for children in crisis.
For one thing, the majority of training for emergency responders is based on adult patients. But, medically speaking, children are not little adults. Ambulance calls to respond to a crisis involving a child with a serious preexisting medical condition or a condition that affects development or cognition can be anxiety-inducing for first responders. "It's terrifying, honestly," says Cox, who also works as an emergency medical service liaison for SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis. "You're walking into a scene where there's little information — a ventilator you've never seen, medical history you've never seen, medicine you've never seen."
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about one of every seven children has a special health care need. Those can include cardiac issues, respiratory problems and seizures as well as autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays.