Home > Profiling emergency department presentations of 14-15-year-olds in modern Ireland.

Martin, Therese and Corcoran, Aoife and Canty, Niofa and Dillon, James and O'Reilly, Peter and O'Donnell, Gillian and Twomey, John and Murphy, Anne-Marie (2019) Profiling emergency department presentations of 14-15-year-olds in modern Ireland. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 188, (4), pp. 1407-1411.

BACKGROUND: Mid-adolescence, that twilight era when the human child transitions to adulthood, is an often overlooked developmental age yet harbours a subpopulation of patients with their own myriad of medical problems somewhat unique to their age group.

AIMS: Our study is aimed at reviewing the typical presentations to a paediatric emergency department of modern Irish teenagers in mid-adolescence, the profile of which has changed significantly over the past 10 years.

METHODS: Hospital electronic databases were used to conduct a retrospective review of the paediatric emergency department presentations of patients aged 14-15 years during the year of 2017. We collated data on the presenting complaint, background history, admission rate and medical specialities involved in each patient's care while in our Emergency Department.

RESULTS: A total of 1485 presentations were made, with 1363 being eligible for inclusion in this study. The results highlight the varied and challenging presentations (Table 1) and the high number of specialities required within emergency medicine to care for this unique population (Table 2).

CONCLUSION: The results highlight the most common presentations of this subgroup of patients, with trauma, in keeping with recent international data, being the most common presentation. The noted high frequency in the number of mental health/intoxication/self-harm presentations among the Irish teenagers in our region is consistent with trends reported in world literature and serves to emphasise one of the main challenges facing those working in paediatrics in Ireland over the next 10 years.

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