Otsego EMS Takes Part in New Study to Reduce Kids Dosage Errors

Paramedics don’t often have to treat children in emergencies.

Sometimes that can lead to dosage errors.               

That’s why a local EMS decided to take part in a new study — the goal is to improve the high error rates.

Ten departments across the state are taking part in this study.

It’s through Western Michigan University.

The goal is to provide more accurate care to kids in emergency situations.

“The study’s important because we know peds dosages are wrong most of the time,” said Paramedic Mike Martin.

In a high stress emergency, it can be difficult for paramedics to correctly dose children.

Because they simply don’t see many of them.

“For us from the first of January to yesterday, we did a little over 3100 calls. Out of those 3100 calls we only seen 99 pediatric patients,” said Paramedic Chandra Ryba.

That means of all the people the Otsego EMS Department helped treat — only three percent were kids.

That’s why they’re taking part in a study to improve pediatric care.

“Right now it can be up to 60 percent of a medication error due to improper weighting, and we’re changing that process of finding out how much the patient weighs.”

Now, Otsego paramedics are using pediatric bags with seven different bags with medical equipment distributed for children of all different weights and sizes. This helps them respond that much more quickly when they’re on an emergency scene.

The department will train twice a month for different scenarios with pediatric patients.

They state is also issuing special “MI-MEDIC” cards to help.

“These cards are weight based cards and improved what we previously had,” Martin said. “They allow us to have the pediatric dosages right there in milliliters vs. milligrams so we can make a better informed decision before giving them medication.”

After the three year study, Otsego EMS hopes to become a lot more comfortable with treating their smallest patients… And therefore more accurate.

“Different scenarios with different types of diseases and we’re just gonna become better providers,” Ryba said.

Western Michigan University is providing an 825,000-dollar grant.

It’s split among the 10 different EMS agencies participating in the study.