Filling a need is often no more complicated than asking the right questions at the right place. When Sebago Rescue EMT Tim Smith recognized that there was a lack of sufficient equipment on the Sebago Rescue vehicle to provide proper emergency care for pediatric patients, he did just that. Through a convincing grant request to the Windham Rotary Club that had grants for community service projects, he was successful in obtaining a grant for a pediatric Advanced Life Support (ALS) trauma kit containing the needed equipment.
"Emergency equipment for small children has to be scaled to their size," Smith said. "We had some pediatric-sized equipment on the rescue unit, such as pediatric blood pressure cuffs and trauma collars. While this equipment has been adequate for our needs in the past, it does not cover all the potential emergencies we could easily have to deal with in the future." Since children have significant differences in airway anatomy, response to blood loss, and thermal regulation compared to adults, having the right-sized equipment is essential for successful emergency care.
Emergency health care workers know that children who have sustained multiple traumas present the greatest challenges to the emergency health care delivery system. Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in children. More children die from trauma-related injuries than all other diseases combined. Between the ages of one and 14 years, more than 50% of deaths are related to traumatic injuries, and 50% of those are related to motor vehicle accidents. Annually, approximately 25,000 children dies of trauma and 100,000 are permanently disabled in some way.
Expert pediatric trauma care during the first hour is crucial for the critically injured child. The smaller the patient, the more rapid is the transition from health to illness or injury, and then possibly to death.
Smith searched the literature and found a pediatric Advanced Life Support (ALS) trauma kit made by Broselow/Hinkle™ that was just what Sebago Rescue needed. The Broselow/Hinkle™ pediatric emergency system was developed by James Broselow, M.D., and Alan Hinkle, M.D. and is based on the direct correlation between a pediatric patient's body length and the proper size of emergency supplies and correct drug dosages. This system has a tape measure having eight color zones, a corresponding series of color-coded single-patient use emergency modules and a nylon organizer bag that has the supplies needed in either a trauma, cardiac or respiratory pediatric emergency.
Windham Rotary Club Grant
There was a problem, however. Knowing what equipment was needed and obtaining it were two completely different things. The pediatric kit would cost $1,650, money that was not in the Sebago Rescue's budget. Smith learned that the Rotary Clubs had a grant program for humanitarian projects that benefit the community, and he contacted the Windham Rotary Club for more information. He was told that there was a limited amount of grant money available through the District 7780 Simplified Grants (DSG) process for worthy local projects in the district. The Windham Rotary Club belongs to District 7780, and could also match any funds donated by the District. He was encouraged to submit an application.
Smith submitted a grant application and waited for it to be reviewed. He called me after a wait of several months: "The Rotary has approved the grant application and wants to make a presentation at one of their meetings," he said excitedly. "Can you come with me and take some pictures?"
Along with Sebago Rescue Deputy Chief Mike Foye we were guests at the Windham Rotary Club's weekly meeting on Thursday, December 8. The group filled the upper floor of Charlie Beiggs' restaurant in Windham. Club President Toby Pennels invited us to join them for lunch and said that the presentation was scheduled to take place after we ate. I was seated between club members George Bartlett and Dr. Jeffrey Martin, who were both eager to tell me about Rotary and the community service projects that they are working on.
"The Windham Rotary Club has been around since 1982," Martin said. "We have between 35 and 40 members, and are actively involved in a number of local and international projects." The Rotary organization is 100-years old and members are challenged to meet the "Service above self" motto through activities to serve their local communities, international service, club service and vocational service.
Martin is active with "Partners for Rural Health in the Dominican Republic". For the last ten years the Windham Rotary has been supporting the University of Southern Maine College of Nursing in their efforts to provide nursing, medical and community health services to rural village in the Dominican Republic. He talked about the donation of medical equipment and supplies that he had helped broker for the project, and was enthusiastic at the good things that are being done there. He even talked me into buying some organically grown Dominican Republic coffee that he had brought to the meeting to sell. Bartlett is a Rotary Interact Advisor and is a passionate supporter of an international service project to Rumania, helping to provide medical equipment to hospitals in the Ramnucu Valche area. He first traveled to Rumania in 1997 under a Rotary Carl Miller Discovery Grant and has been active since then. Through the Windham Rotary Club more than $1 million in used but serviceable and very needed medical equipment has been shipped to Rumania. Bartlett is also active in the Interact Club at the Windham High School and in arranging for exchange visits of students to and from other countries to Maine.
The Windham Rotary Club sponsors the Sebago Lake Rotary Derby Fest, the third largest ice fishing derby in the United States. More than twelve thousand people will take part in the February 24 - 26 Derby, enjoying winter in Maine and helping the Rotary raise money for several programs including, among others, Camp Sunshine, Maine's Children Cancer, the Paul Harris Fellowship, and the fishery programs of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
In their community service outreach, Rotary clubs place particular emphasis on helping children and others most in need of assistance. The grant to Sebago Rescue for the pediatric trauma kit is a perfect fit, and it was with obvious pleasure that president Pennels presented the kit to Foye and Smith. The bulky blue bag was emblazoned with "Sebago Lake Rotary Club" as a reminder of how two public service organizations can work together to help their fellow citizens.
"We really appreciate this grant," Foye said. "This pediatric trauma kit is a valuable addition to Sebago Rescue's emergency equipment and the generosity of the Windham Rotary Club will enhance our capabilities to provide emergency care to children in the Lakes Region."
Last updated December 15, 2005
Copyright © 2005, Allen Crabtree
Copyright © 2005, Allen Crabtree