LONG BEACH--About 90 Long Beach paramedics have completed training at St. Mary Medical Center in a new pilot program in pediatric intubation, a life-saving procedure used on children who have stopped breathing.
"(The procedure) until now was only administered in a hospital," said Dr. Stephen Shea, director of emergency services at St. Mary and head of the paramedic training program. "By training paramedics to perform pediatric intubation in the field instead of waiting until the patient arrives in the hospital, we save precious minutes that could . . . mean the difference between life and death."
The training program, organized under county auspices, makes Long Beach the only city in Los Angeles County with a paramedic force trained in pediatric intubation.
The procedure involves passing a tube through a child's airway to permit ventilation. If successful, organizers said, the training will eventually be offered in other cities.