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Most of the children who come to the Trauma Center start in the Boston Children's Hospital Emergency Department, often with care that started at the scene of the injury.

What happens when an injured child comes to the hospital?

First, the child is evaluated and stabilized. State-of-the-art imaging technology assists the team in initiating treatment, with tests that can include MRI, CT scan, and/or ultrasound. These tests are interpreted by pediatric radiologists. Additional pediatric medical and surgical specialists consult with the trauma team as needed, so that we can tailor our care to each child.

At Boston Children's, we recognize that it's the family that's the most important source of emotional support and comfort for a child. With this in mind, the family's presence at the child's side is welcomed in most scenarios.

We make every effort to ensure a smooth flow of information between care providers and the family, providing foreign language interpreters when needed.

What happens next?

Depending on the severity of the injury, a child may be treated and released from the hospital or admitted into inpatient care.

Patients with severe injuries may be admitted to the Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU). Here, teams of pediatric medical and surgical critical care specialists work together to care for injured children. Some patients may be cared for on inpatient units that focus on specific needs: neurosurgery, orthopedics, adolescent surgery, or infant/toddler surgery.

An extra measure of support

A child's injury can be a nerve-racking experience on many levels. The Trauma Center understands this and works hard to lessen child and family stress. We're available to answer questions and talk through any concerns. The hospital's Family Support Services provides emotional support and helpful assistance with matters related to a child's stay. The Hale Family Center for Families helps families find the information they need to understand their child's medical condition and take part in their care.

After the hospital stay

Some patients may need rehabilitative care after their inpatient stay. We help make this transition as smooth as possible. Trauma nurse coordinator Maria McMahon, RN, MSN, CCRN, communicates with the inpatient team on clinical care and other possible concerns, such as learning needs, and coordinates with rehab facilities as patients transfer out of Boston Children's.

Outpatient clinics such as those within the Brain Injury Center and the Orthopedic, Neurosurgery, and General Surgery programs provide support for injuries that could affect a child's long-term development.


Critical Care Transport Program

Each year Boston Children's Hospital's Critical Care Transport Program, directed by Monica Kleinman, MD, transports nearly 1,000 of the region's most critically ill and injured children. Because expert transportation of these children can mean the difference between life and death, our Critical Care Transport Ambulance is staffed by a team of two critical care transport registered nurses and an EMT-paramedic.

Unsurpassed skills and credentials

Boston Children's CCTP is one of only three medical transport programs in the state with CAMTS (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems) accreditation. We're the only dedicated pediatric/neonatal team in New England with this prestigious certification, which recognizes excellence in patient care and safety.

Our team is highly skilled and experienced in the special needs that children have during this important transitional phase of their care. The ambulance itself is unique, holding all of the equipment and medication necessary on board to earn its reputation as an ICU on wheels.

The communication specialists on the transport team handle all aspects of patient transfer. From access to the medical control physician and bed assignment to consultation with appropriate specialists and assistance with stabilization — the complete patient transfer is coordinated with one phone call.

For patient transfer information to Boston Children's from another facility, call 866-771-KIDS. For more information about the Critical Care Transport Team, call 617-355-8410.

Boston MedFlight

When ambulance transport isn't enough, Boston MedFlight is called upon. Boston MedFlight is a critical care transport service created in 1985 as a non-profit public charity by a consortium of Boston teaching institutions, including Boston Children's Hospital.

MedFlight plays an integral role in the Massachusetts EMS system, and it provides linkage for the most critically ill and injured patients requiring transport from community hospitals to trauma and tertiary care centers.

Boston MedFlight was recognized as the 2004 Program of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services. During fiscal year 2004, Boston MedFlight transported 226 patients to Boston Children's Hospital. More than 30 percent of these children were critically injured and required emergent trauma services. The remaining children required critical medical or neonatal services available only at Boston Children's.

Throughout 2004, Boston MedFlight and Boston Children's worked together to save lives and prevent injury through a series of trauma prevention, community outreach, and public safety programs aimed at school-aged children.