The occurrence of delayed diagnosis of injury (DDI) among pediatric trauma patients represents a breakdown in trauma care. Although some DDI may be unavoidable, the rate of DDI may be used as a measure of quality improvement.
We sought to investigate DDI in admitted pediatric trauma patients while a designated pediatric trauma response team was used and compare this with the prior incidence of DDI (4.3%) before initiation of the response team.
Primary Children's Medical Center (PCMC) is a regional tertiary pediatric trauma center. This analysis used the prospectively gathered PCMC Trauma Database, and included all hospitalized pediatric trauma patients from 1997 through 2000.
A total of 3265 patients were included; no patients were excluded. A DDI occurred in 15 (0.46%; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.79) trauma patients. The DDI patients were more severely injured with significantly higher Injury Severity Scores, lower TRISS Probability of Survival values, longer hospitalizations (P ≤ 0.05, Mann-Whitney U), and were more frequently admitted to the PICU (P ≤ 0.05, χ2) than the non-DDI patient population. In a previous study, our incidence of missed injury was 4.3% (50/1175; 95% CI: 3.3, 5.6); with implementation of a designated trauma response team and trauma service, the incidence of DDI was reduced nearly 10-fold to 0.46% (15/3265; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.79).
Implementation of an effective trauma team and trauma service was associated with a significant reduction in DDI.