A telephone questionnaire was undertaken to evaluate the knowledge of resident paediatricians on the subject of the basic resuscitation of the acutely sick child. The questionnaire was targeted at 88 resident paediatricians in hospitals accepting paediatric emergencies in four health regions. Outcome was measured as a correct response to questions based on several emergency scenarios and on the confidence expressed of basic resuscitation knowledge. The subject of emergency management of the child with a compromised upper airway was poorly answered with 40/73 (55%) resident paediatricians suggesting an incorrect endotracheal tube size for an 8 year old child. Fluid management was also deemed unsatisfactory with only 36/73 (49%) providing adequate transfusion secondary to haemorrhagic shock. In addition only 19/73 (26%) mentioned the intraosseous route as a means of obtaining vascular access in a child in extremis. Confidence of the knowledge of basic resuscitation of children was low among resident paediatricians with only 30/73 (41%) expressing confidence and 69/73 (94%) expressing a desire for more formal training in paediatric resuscitation. Resident paediatricians are usually the key personnel in the management of very sick children. This survey demonstrates a low level of basic resuscitation knowledge among resident paediatricians of all grades that must be remedied at a local and national level.
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