FHN reps address concerns about discontinued inpatient pediatric care

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In one week, FHN will stop all pediatric inpatient care, responding to a drop in the number of children needing the intensive treatment.

This type of care is defined by FHN representatives as any time a child must stay in the hospital for more than 23 hours.

“That’s excluding any time that they would spend in the emergency room, but this does not qualify for somebody that would have to be here for two to three days of stay,” said FHN’s Chief Nursing Officer Kathryn Martinez.

In the past three years, FHN’s pediatric caseload dropped by 54% , which, according to Martinez, is the main reason behind the move to stop this treatment. However, she also said evidence points to other hospitals being able to provide a better quality of care.

“The best place for a child to receive pediatric services is a organization that has multiple services, that includes a pediatric intensive care unit, as well as an array of specialties,” she said.

Martinez credits modern medicine with keeping most children away from the hospital.

“Now we have vaccines against RSV, Rotavirus, all the common elements that used to put a child in a hospital,” she told 23 News.

Patients shouldn’t be worried about the transportation side of things either. Stuart Brown, who runs the ambulance service Metro Medical Services, says this is what his paramedics are trained for.

“It would be like normal for us, a lot of our paramedics and EMT’s are kind of used to taking care of the pediatric level,” he said.

If a child in the FHN Network needs extended care, they will likely be transferred to UW Health SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford, UW Health Madison, or OSF Children’s Hospital in Peoria.