Mini-Biography Dr Ffion Davies, MbChB, MRCP, FRCPCH, FRCEM, Consultant Emergency Physician
Dr Ffion Davies, FRCEM, is a Consultant Emergency Physician at the University Hospitals of Leicester, UK, which treats 160,000 secondary and tertiary care patients per year. Ffion trained in both paediatrics and in adult emergency medicine, and believes that EM staff should be as skilled and confident in treating acute injuries and illness in children as they are in adults. She has spent her career attempting to demystify, up-skill and boost confidence in PEM, via education. She is most proud of her enduring product, www.spottingthesickchild.com (previously a DVD), used by many thousands of frontline staff for over 12 years, containing hours of real-life footage.
Spotting the sick child
Top tips for spotting a sick child, from 26 years of frontline practice
Reflecting on 26 years of frontline practice in paediatric emergency care: while there’s no substitute for knowledge and experience, I can see some common themes to failing to spot a sick child. By sick, I mean injuries and illness that need hospital attention or hospitalisation. This talk tries to draw from all those errors I’ve both made and seen, into a couple of easy-to-apply mantras.
Physiology matters. It really does. Scrutinising a full set of observations/vitals (in the context of the child’s age) will help avoid our feared crime: discharging a sick child. And how to deal with fever, as a confounding factor.
Psychology matters. It really does. Talks on PEM are always popular because as EM physicians, we’re insecure about mismanaging a child. Are children precious? Are adults just big children? Therein lies the problem. Less knowledge, less experience, less confidence? Yes? Then there’s less Type 1 thinking.
We’ll talk about the risks in needing to rely more upon Type 2 thinking. How to deal with the time-poor resuscitation situation. How to avoid denial. What makes some staff be over-confident with children (hint – type 2 thinking is hard work!). What stops us applying our usual filters (eg risk stratification).
Finally, I can signpost more specific help with developing your PEM skills, which can be found at www.spottingthesickchild.com , an eLearning package containing hours of videos of real-life cases, endorsed by the NHS in the UK, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N35J3NLJW_s , a 10-minute podcast also endorsed by the NHS.