Study suggests pediatricians lack concussion treatment know-how

We rely on doctors to mend and heal us, putting our care and the care of our children under their expertise. When injuries occur, especially brain injuries, the medical care required is often more extensive and highly important. Brain injuries can result in a variety of problems either immediately or later on in life. For these reasons, brain injuries always require proper diagnosis and treatment in order to minimize the effect these injuries can have on patients.

A recent study on pediatric care of concussion victims revealed that some pediatricians feel they lack training in properly dealing with brain injuries. Of the 145 pediatric primary and emergency care providers included in the study, 127 had referred at least one concussion patient to another doctor in the previous three months of being surveyed. What is concerning is that most concussions should be able to be managed in primary care environments.

The study, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, was conducted by an emergency room physician and injury researcher. A survey was sent to 276 pediatric doctors, nurses and physician assistants. The survey questions gathered information regarding health care providers’ knowledge of concussion symptoms and treatment, and what obstacles they encounter when treating patients with concussions. About half of the surveys were returned.

The majority of respondents to the survey noted they had referred patients with concussions to other physicians, with 49 percent stating they weren’t comfortable treating a concussion, and 47 percent saying they lacked the facilities to treat concussion victims.

Considering the possible long-term consequences for children who suffer concussions, the information revealed in the study is concerning.

According to the study’s author, more resources are needed for treating concussion victims in primary care settings. He has since developed a set of tools for health care providers to use to better diagnose and treat children who have concussions. Since July 2012, the author claims that his new tools for diagnosing and treating concussions have been used by medical professionals at least 850 times.

Source: Reuters, “Pediatricians may lack training in concussion care,” Nov. 15, 2012

Brain Injuries


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