Critical Response: Emergency Care

Providing the missing pieces to assure fast response for a child in respiratory or cardiac arrest, as well as the training to handle pediatric emergency situations

Critical Response.logoAn absolute necessity in emergency room and ICUs in first world countries, the pediatric crash cart, sometimes called a pediatric code cart, or Emergency trolley, places all of the pieces of equipment needed in a code at the hands of the responding doctors and nurses. The metal rolling cart has equipment on the top and in drawers that enable the doctors to respond quickly to restore breathing or proper heart rhythms to the child.

The knowledge of what to do and how to do it is not very helpful if a doctor does not have the tools that are necessary at hand. Our goal is to provide Emergency response education and crash carts to pediatric ICUs, CICU’s, and emergency rooms all over the Vietnam. The program design has four very important facets:

  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training (PALS)
  • Donation of fully stocked Crash Cart
  • Training doctors and nurses onsite with the Crash Cart on the use and maintenance of the cart
  • Monitoring the use of the carts, maintenance of the carts, and retraining when necessary
Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training (PALS)

Prior to receiving the cart, doctors in the hospital will be required to attend training on Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), an intensive course developed by the American Heart Association and the American Association of Pediatrics.

Intended for health care providers of children, this course provides a standardized approach to the evaluation and management of critically-ill children in respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest. Its goals are to provide the participants with:

  1. The information required for recognizing a child at risk of cardio-pulmonary arrest, as well as the strategy for preventing such an arrest, and
  2. The necessary skills for resuscitating and stabilizing a child in respiratory failure, shock, or cardiopulmonary arrest.

VCF has trained and certified over 750 Vietnamese doctors and 250 nurses in PALS with the assistance of American PALS trainers who donated their time to come to Vietnam to help.

2.Cardiac Rhythm-Automated External Defibrillator

Each PALS course trains 32 doctors in an intensive two day course including:

  • One half day of lecture
  • 4 hands on skill stations which each doctor must pass to qualify
  • certification exam

Each PALS course costs $3900USD in the Mekong, $3300 in Ho Chi Minh City and $4700 in the central region. Eight trainers are needed to teach each course because of the intensive hands on skills training, certification and testing.

In April 2013 we conducted our first PALS course for Nurses at Children’s Hospital Number 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. The PALS curriculum was preceded with an extra day of lecture on Basic Life Support. All 30 nurses passed the course and we hope to train many more nursing teams.  The nurse is the staff member with the most contact with the patient and the ability to recognize symptoms of a crash before it occurs can help prevent an arrest or save time in responding to an arrest. The Nurses PALS course costs $3100 for 30 nurses.

Pediatric Crash Carts

crash cartFor just $6,500 VCF can provide a fully-stocked pediatric crash cart to a hospital. The cart will come with warranties for all equipment and a half day of onsite training for local nurses and doctors on how to use the cart, perform daily checks, restock the carts after a code, maintain equipment, and adapt the procedures to the hospital’s policy manuals. The rolling carts have electrical connections and all equipment will be adapted to Vietnam’s 220V/50Hz current. VCF will outfit the carts with defibrillators, suction machines, ambu-bags, transformers, and carts purchased in the US, and with disposables available in Vietnam. The hospital is responsible to stock the cart with Emergency Response drugs. The carts are lockable and mobile to move to the bedside of the patient. Each hospital signs an MOU on the use and maintenance of the cart.

Program Accomplishments
  • 812 doctors trained and certified in PALS
  • 271 nurses trained and certified in BLS and PALS
  • 136 Crash Carts delivered to 98 hospitals and 5 Commune Health Centers

Our donors for this program have included Saigon South International School, The Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, Arthur Allens Robinson and Thanh Ha Fish Sauce.  VCF’s major partner for this program, Exxon Mobil, has helped VCF to completely blanket three provinces with PALS training and Crash Carts. As part of the Exxon Mobil program, a full time trainer is in charge of monitoring and retraining in the provinces where Exxon Mobil works:  Danang, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai. If the trainer finds that there is a unit where someone is not using the cart, or fearful of the defibrillator, he offers hands on training onsite.

Program Impact

Hospitals report the use of crash carts up to 10 time a week, with two children saved on average per week. That equates to 27 children a day or one child every hour of every day. This success makes us sure that the expansion across the country of this program is one of our biggest priorities.

Program Donors

Allens Arthur Robinson International Lawyers
Children as the Peacemakers Foundation
Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation

Highlands Rotary Club
Medical Professionals
Saigon South International School
Truc Lan Company
Nguyen Thi Thanh Giang
Dr. Alfred Huyong
Dr. Nguyen Vu Nguyen
Maureen O’Donnell
Children’s Heartlink
Thanh Ha Fish Sauce


How You Can Help
  • $47,000 will fund an ten courses in the central region of Vietnam where child and infant mortality is a big problem
  • $65,000 will fund ten crash carts and save over 1000 children in the next year