Thank you, Dr. Broselow

December 1, 2007

A rainbow-colored measuring tape aids those who need pediatric resuscitation.

I was a pediatric resident before the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) developed the first Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course and textbook. When we residents were called upon to resuscitate a child, we did our best with a limited skill set, by today's standards. We knew CPR and what meds needed to be given, but we often couldn't achieve timely intravenous access.

Problematic, too, was calculating the dosages of resuscitation meds based on guesses of the child's weight. During a code, a misplaced decimal point would result in the incorrect dosage of the medication that might revive the child. With a few precious exceptions, the resuscitation attempts I participated in were mostly unsuccessful. I always asked myself if I could have done better.

Resuscitation science has improved since then. Evidence-based guidelines, PALS courses, and intraosseous (IO) line placement have led to more resuscitated children. New technology such as CPR monitors and devices that expedite the placement of IO lines are invaluable.

He performed studies to show how standardized growth charts could predict a child's weight based on height. The studies were repeated and corroborated by the AHA. In 1986, he developed a color-coded measuring tape that estimated the weight of pediatric patients. Written on the tape were drug dosages and the sizes of equipment (BP cuffs, ET tubes, NG tubes) needed to safely care for children in an emergency. The Broselow Pediatric Resuscitation Tape has become a standard item for those in the EMS and pediatric communities.

Broselow has devised other life-saving equipment as well. His idea expanded into equipment organizers and emergency carts to expedite resuscitation. At least one company uses his color-coding system to determine optimal radiation doses during computed tomography scans. He recently created a chemical warfare tape to treat children exposed to chemical weapons, and introduced a color-coding hospital system that could reduce dosing errors in the inpatient setting. Broselow is also working with pharmaceutical companies to unify (and simplify) the dosing of antipyretics for parents, again using his color-coding system.

I've spoken with Broselow about pediatric resuscitation on several occasions. I immediately sensed his enthusiasm and commitment to improving emergency services for children. He will continue to make every effort to provide the health care community with the tools to aid physicians in resuscitating children. You may not be a pediatrician, Dr. Broselow, but you have made the world better for pediatricians and our patients. For this, we thank you.