Haiti Pediatric Action Blog
Deploying the Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (PEDSS)


The Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (PEDSS) is a sophisticated analytical tool to generate accurate estimates of injured children in a disaster, and to assist in emphasizing children's special needs. We are adapting the PEDSS earthquake module to Haiti and its disaster profile, thus generating authoritative best-practices-based recommendations on medical supplies, equipment, pharmaceuticals, and personnel requirements for childrens' needs in the disaster.

The Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (PEDSS) was developed in collaboration with Childrens Hospital Los Angeles' Pediatric Disaster Resource and Training Center, for which Dr. Jeffrey Upperman is the Director and Dr. Robert Neches the Informatics Thrust Leader from USC Information Sciences Institute.

Approximately 35% of Haiti's population is under 15. It's been estimated that as many as a million children were orphaned or abandoned -- even before the disaster hit. Thus, the earthquake is a disaster of the highest magnitude, and children represent a major class of victims.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PEDSS Work Cited

USC Press Release: Almost half of injured Haitians are likely to be children, pediatric emergency study indicates
A statistical study by a specialist group at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California indicates that the victims of the January 12 quake include an extraordinarily high number of children— more than 110,000, nearly half of the estimated total.

This information should guide relief workers on the ground, according to Jeffrey Upperman, M.D. and Robert Neches PhD, co-developers of the Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (PEDSS), a software tool to help medical service providers more effectively plan for, train for, and respond to serious incidents and disasters affecting children.

The PEDSS group has set up a blog to help guide the choice and distribution of relief supplies. The numbers are if anything understated, according to Neches, but the calculations use the latest available reports from relief efforts on the ground.

PEDSS uses statistical methods to estimate how many of the potential victims of a disaster (so far, earthquakes have been most studied) in a given specific location (i.e., Los Angeles) will be children, and what they will need. Children have special needs for equipment, including thinner hypodermic needles, appropriate pharmaceuticals in childrens dosages, and medical specialists in pediatrics and in other areas.

LA Times Blog: A supply list for doctors heading to Haiti
After Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, it was instantly clear that medical help was needed. And doctors from around the world responded, traveling to the Caribbean nation to volunteer their services. (Check out this video to see how the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders constructed an inflatable hospital to treat quake victims.)

Haiti But what kinds of injuries will those doctors encounter, and what kinds of medical supplies will they need to treat their patients?

They can ask researchers at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and USC’s Information Sciences Institute, who have computed a partial answer with their Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (or PEDSS for short).

It sounds like a contraption straight out of Star Trek, but it’s a real software tool that was developed to estimate the number and type of pediatric injuries that would follow a disaster such as an earthquake. By plugging in information specific to the Haiti quake, the Los Angeles researchers estimated that more than 110,000 children there are in need of medical care.

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