Sichuan earthquake and emergency relief care for children: report from the firstly arrived pediatricians in the epicenter zone
Objective: An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan province of China on May 12th, 2008. Over the next 10 days, the firstly arrived uniformed pediatricians in the epicenter zone took part in emergency relief care for children. The investigations of major injuries and diseases in children were taken. Methods: Demographic data collected included (if possible) age, date of presentation, injury, disease, and surgery performed. Results: Total casualties were estimated over 80,000, and much more injured. Eight hundreds and eight-two inpatients were treated by the relief team during the first 10 days. Of 882 inpatients, 192 (21.8%) were <18 years old. Children's ages were not evenly distributed. Twenty-seven patients were neonates, infants, and toddlers (14%), 105 school-aged (55%), and 60 adolescents (31%). The admitted children suffered from 256 injures. Limb (106 cases, 55.2%) and body surface (67 cases, 34.9%) were the majorly injured locations. 127 cases (66.2%) had simple, open injures and 106 (55.2% had fractures. The children's conditions were evaluated as mild (121, 63.0%), moderate (56, 29.7%), severe (8, 4.2%), and fatal (7, 3.7%). Conclusions: More than 20% of patients requiring hospitalization were children. School-aged children were heavily injured. The increase of infectious diseases followed on. The data shows that there is an immediate need for orthopedic and general surgery skills, and, pediatrician should play an important role in early rescue and subsequently control of infectious diseases in a huge earthquake hazard.