Managing the Complex Issues of Pediatric Nonaccidental Trauma: A Simulation-Based Case of a Critically Injured Child

Publication ID Published Volume
10599 July 6, 2017 13

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Introduction: Trainees generally have insufficient training in managing critically ill and injured pediatric patients due to limited exposure to such patients. Patient simulation experiences allow trainees to learn management skills needed in such a crisis. Herein, we describe a case regarding a critically injured pediatric patient. This case requires trainees to use teamwork skills, medical knowledge, and technical skills to manage the patient. Methods: We developed a team-based simulation regarding the resuscitation of a critically injured child—a toddler with multiple injuries, all requiring emergent care. The case was developed for senior medical students and residents and can be completed in a single 1-hour session, including a debriefing period. We also address psychosocial issues of managing a critically injured child by having the mother and her boyfriend present for part of the case. The team must address the underlying issue of suspected nonaccidental trauma while managing a medical resuscitation. Results: We have performed this scenario with a cohort of 100 trainees. Through direct observations, all teams have been able to manage the patient successfully. The average response to the effectiveness of the case in terms of developing pediatric resuscitation skills was very positive, with scores of 6.7 on a scale of 1 to 7. Discussion: Medical simulation has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool for assessing the knowledge and skills of trainees. This pediatric simulation improved learners’ general understanding of managing a pediatric resuscitation. Accordingly, this case has been incorporated as part of resident and medical student training.


Ryan M, White P, Kiley S, Reed H, Giordano C. Managing the complex issues of pediatric nonaccidental trauma: a simulation-based case of a critically injured child. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10599.

Educational Objectives

By the end of the module, learners will be able to:

  1. Identify a critically injured child and associated abnormal vital signs in a pediatric patient.
  2. Perform resuscitation by following Advanced Trauma Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support guidelines.
  3. Recognize signs of suspected nonaccidental trauma.
  4. Manage the clinical and social aspects of nonaccidental trauma in a child.
  5. Recognize the complications of engaging parents and family in the resuscitation of a child.
  6. Develop team organization and team-centered communication skills toward management of a crisis involving a pediatric patient.
  7. Develop individual resuscitative skills for pediatric patients.


  • Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Simulation, ATLS, PALS, Pediatric Trauma, Child Abuse, Pneumothorax, Critically Injured Child


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