Your Health

Medical Devices Problems Send Kids To Emergency Rooms

Kids can end up the hospital for a lot of reasons.

Boy puts contact lens in eye

hide captionContact lenses are the single biggest source of injuries that send kids to the emergency room.

iStockphoto.com

Skateboards and sticks in the eye are pretty near the top of the list in our house. But medical devices intended to help can also cause trouble that requires urgent care in the ER, a new study finds.

Problems where medical devices meet the eyeball are No. 1, accounting for about a third of all incidents. Contact lenses were the single biggest offender, involved in nearly one-quarter of all device-related injuries that needed emergency care. Scratches of the cornea, ulcers on the eye and infection were the biggies.

Other devices frequently involved in injuries include eyeglasses, hypodermic needles (ouch!), scooters and wheelchairs.

The researchers from the Food and Drug Administration figure about 145,000 kids' trips to the ER during they two years they studied had to something to do with a medical device. About half the problems hit older adolescents, ages 16 to 21 for the purposes of the study.

The findings were just published online by the journal Pediatrics.

Many of the injuries weren't all that serious. But those that required hospitalization were more likely to have involved implanted devices, such as shunts to relieve pressure from too much fluid around the brain or spinal cord.

The researchers recommended that children and health-care professionals pay more attention to proper use and care of contacts. More broadly, they suggest that more attention be paid to prevention of medical device injuries, with a particular focus on those devices that show the biggest health risks.

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