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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2015

DHEC provides EMS agencies with tools to help improve response times in pediatric emergencies

COLUMBIA, SC- The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) EMS for Children program today provided twelve Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies from across the state with pediatric response bags and training essential to quickly responding to critically injured infants and children.

A primary challenge in dealing with a pediatric patient is that every child, based on their age, weight, and height requires a different medication dose and equipment size. To assist South Carolina's EMS agencies in meeting this challenge, DHEC recently purchased 50 Handtevy pediatric system response bags. Purchased through funding from a grant provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which funds DHEC's EMS for Children program, the bags will provide local EMS providers with organized pediatric equipment and education necessary to take swift action when confronted with a pediatric patient.

"In a pediatric emergency, rapid determination of critical drug doses can mean the difference between life and death," said Jamie Shuster, DHEC Director of Public Health. "Providing access to these pediatric response bags ensures that South Carolina's paramedics are prepared to treat our state's youngest patients, helping to eliminate possible deadly dosing errors."

The current industry standard for determining a pediatric medication dose requires that the paramedic perform complex mathematical calculations during the critical moments of the resuscitation.  These calculations take several minutes and may result in medication errors. Solving this issue, the Handtevy system allows healthcare providers to run a pediatric emergency from start to finish with ease and without lengthy mathematical calculations. It also organizes all medical equipment by color for easy access during a pediatric emergency. In addition, the system provides unique medication books. These books are reviewed for accuracy by a pediatric pharmacist and the medications included are customized to each agency based on their protocols.

"We feel confident that with the acquisition of the Handtevy Pediatric Response bags, we can assure that our personnel and the first responders in our community receive the highest level of training and equipment available, become more proficient at their skills, and reduce the stress level while attending to a critically ill or injured child/infant," said Schanen Lyons, Greenwood County EMS Training Coordinator. "This will bring about more improved child/infant outcomes, and lead to a healthier community overall."

Selected from results collected in a pediatric readiness data survey, the twelve ambulance agencies represent the first step in DHEC's ongoing efforts to ensure that each EMS agency in the state has a pediatric response bag. Representing counties from across the state, the agencies include:

  • Aiken County EMS
  • Calhoun County EMS
  • City of Hanahan Fire and EMS
  • Darlington County EMS
  • Georgetown County EMS
  • Greenwood County EMS
  • Hartsville Rescue Squad
  • Laurens County EMS
  • Little Mountain Rescue
  • McCormick County EMS
  • Pelzer Rescue Squad
  • Williamston EMS

"The dosing and treatment of pediatric patients has always been troublesome in that they require a different regimen than adults," said David Hodge, Hartsville Rescue Squad EMS Director. "Children are not just small adults. The Handtevy system allows us to take much of the guesswork out of treating pediatric patients through providing specific medication dosages and equipment distinctly tailored for infants and children.  A welcomed addition to the services we currently offer, this system will greatly increase the quality of care we can provide to an often overlooked facet of the population we serve."

"The straightforward layout of the Handtevy Pediatric Response bags makes it very simple and easy for paramedics to quickly respond in a pediatric emergency," Crystal Youmans, Calhoun County EMS Training Officer.  "These bags will provide our crews with better organized equipment and greater access to lifesaving tools, helping shorten response times and ultimately save lives."

Photos of today's event are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/scdhec/. (Photos Courtesy: Anthony Doyle, DHEC).

"This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number H33MC06719 and EMSC Partnership Grants for $236,923. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government."

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Cassandra Harris
Public Information Officer
ARRISCS@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.1127