Whitley County EMS was recognized Tuesday morning for its work in helping its youngest patients, children.
As part of national EMS week, which is May 18 – May 25, Whitley County EMS received the Award for Excellence in Pediatric Care by the Kentucky EMS for Children Pediatric Recognition Program. Whitley County EMS is one of only eight services recognized with the award statewide.
The purpose of the award is to highlight EMS providers that go above and beyond what the state requires in terms of providing pediatric care.
“I’m extremely proud of our EMS for receiving this award,” said Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. “Taking care of and providing for our most precious citizens is one of our most sincere obligations. It is rewarding to know that our service is among those recognized by the state and that we are among very few given this award.”
In order to be considered for this award, the EMS provider must meet specific criteria set out by the state. There must be a designated pediatric emergency care coordinator, they must comply with national recommendations for pediatric equipment carried on the ambulance, and engage in pediatric focused community outreach.
Also, all EMT’s and paramedic’s are required additional continuing education hours in pediatric-related courses, and must pass an annual demonstration of competency.
“Improving emergency medical care of children in all of our communities across the state is crucial,” said Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Director Morgan Skaggs. “These agencies have gone the extra mile in their commitment to improving emergency pediatric care that sets a standard for others.”
Scaggs noted that the EMS profession, as a whole, developed around providing trauma and cardiac care for adults, but they do provide care for children, just in smaller numbers.
Data from 2017 indicates that only about 5 percent of EMS activations in Kentucky were for children under the age of 18, but those young patients have very unique developmental and physiological needs.
“Providing care for those patients is an added challenge for our providers. When you don’t get to do it on a regular basis that makes it even more difficult,” Scaggs added.
The program is a voluntary recognition program that goes beyond state regulations to help better serve children in the community.
“On behalf of the Kentucky EMS for Children Program, we would like to acknowledge Whitley County EMS and their commitment in providing excellent care for pediatric patients,” Scaggs said during Tuesday’s presentation ceremony, which took place in the fiscal court meeting room inside the old courthouse.
The award is given annually to EMS providers who meet the above requirements.
Whitley County EMS Director Kelli Harrison said the agency is honored to receive this award.
“Assistant Chief Brandon Woods and Matthew Corbin worked really hard on this. It is nice to be honored, it really is,” Harrison noted. “We will do our best to take care of the children of Whitley County or any other place they might need us.”