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There Is No Excuse for Mortality Due to Lack of Competency and Training of Paediatric Endoscopists in Gastrointestinal Bleeding Therapy in 2018

Thomson, Mike

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: December 2018 - Volume 67 - Issue 6 - p 684–688
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002148
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ABSTRACT Acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding in children is possibly the last medical emergency which continues to lead to the death of a child due to the lack of competency/clinical judgement of the doctor, as opposed to the disease itself, leading to mortality despite optimum medical intervention. This is unacceptable in any circumstances in 2018. It occurs due to a number of conspiring factors including lack of appreciation of the clinical presentation requiring urgent endoscopic intervention; misapprehension of the urgency of timing required of such an intervention predicated on the severity of the gastrointestinal (GI) bleed; lack of application of a paediatric-specific validated score predicting for such endoscopic intervention; lack of skill in endo-haemostatic intervention techniques by paediatric endoscopists; poor training in such techniques among paediatric endoscopists; paucity of cases with lack of exposure of the paediatric endoscopist regularly to enable skills to be maintained, once acquired; reluctance of adult endoscopists in many centres to support paediatric GI bleeding services. In essence then the paediatric GI community urgently needs to identify centres of excellence to whom these children should be transferred. Transfer is safe in all but the most critical cases once stabilised with transfusion, octreotide/terlipressin and iv proton pump inhibitors. The resources are country-dependent but this is really no excuse. We must not let this parlous state of affairs continue. Solutions are explored in this article and please let this serve as a call to action for all those involved in this continuing debacle in order to save “save-able” lives.

Sheffield Children's Hospital, Weston Bank, Sheffield, UK.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Mike Thomson, MD, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Weston Bank, Sheffield S10 2TH, UK (e-mail:

Received 10 February, 2018

Accepted 30 August, 2018

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,