The fact that terrorism is here to stay has made it necessary for health teams to be prepared for any eventuality. In such a scenario Rush University Medical Center has pioneered the use of a baby simulator in order to train health care workers to respond quickly to infants in distress from any chemical weapons attacks initiated by terrorists.
The Chicago Department of Public Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has recommended that Rush train all health care workers located within the Chicago area. Rush has already been recognized by the Chicago Department of Health in 2002 as a bioterrorism preparedness Center of Excellence and thus has valuable experience in dealing with such situations. In the current grant, a Pediatric Chemical Workshop has been provided so that health care workers are exposed to hands on situations. "Children are not just little adults. Children can respond the exact opposite to chemical agents than adults and they have different medical vulnerabilities," said Dr. Paul N. Severin, Pediatric Intensivist and Assistant Director, Affiliated Programs, Rush University Simulator Lab. "In a disaster situation, emergency physicians need to be well versed on the treatment guidelines for babies and small children." The Baby Simulator allows teams to perform emergency measures like tracheal intubation, chest compressions and inserting intravenous or bladder catheters. At Rush, teams are comprised of four members and are given a specific scenario where they must find why infants are responding in a particular way. "We have found there is a need for this type of pediatric specific training," said Severin. ''During a disaster, hospitals often plan to transfer pediatric patients to children's facilities. However, that may not be an option. Therefore, everyone must be prepared to act effectively and efficiently.''
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