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Nurse speaks to the medical needs of...


Nurse speaks to the medical needs of children

Cindy Doyle hardly ever goes to the scene of an accident, but her voice can often be heard calmly talking paramedics through the rescue. The 38-year-old nurse teaches paramedics and other health professionals how to save children who are the victims of seizures, traumas or other accidents.

Since 1991, she has helped train 2,400 doctors, nurses or paramedics in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Maryland. Emergency systems are set up for adults, she says, but children "have different signs and symptoms when they get in trouble, for instance when they are in shock or having respiratory distress.

"It is so important to give health-care professionals information about how children are different," she says, "because when a child gets really, really sick and starts to deteriorate, it is very difficult to turn them around."

In addition to a formal class for health professionals, Ms. Doyle arranges for paramedics in training programs around the state to have hands-on exposure to infant emergencies by placing them alongside hospital nurses for eight-hour shifts. More than 400 paramedics have gotten experience in pediatric emergency and intensive care and labor and delivery units at the hospital.

A child having an emergency is "probably the thing that causes )) paramedics the most anxiety," Ms. Doyle said. That's because the sight of a critically ill child is usually disturbing, and paramedics often have limited training to help them, she said.

Rescue workers who are able to use the techniques often write to her. One paramedic recounted his efforts to deliver premature twin babies. He saved one of them after detecting a low pulse rate and credited Ms. Doyle and the staff at the University of Maryland for giving him the skills he needed. While resuscitating the newborn, he wrote, "It seemed I could hear their calm voices talking me through."

@ Say you're 18. You've met the president, read your poetry at the Smithsonian and toured Holland with your violin. What do you do for an encore?

If you're Alicia Rabins, you win a coveted Artscape Award for your poetry -- "The Girl Who Wants to Be a Landscape."

Although it sounds like an Alicia-in-Wonderland existence, she says early acclaim hasn't inflated her ego.

"I still feel like my writing has far to go. Prizes are nice and encouraging, and sometimes you get money from them. But it's important for me to keep working. It's not like I've reached a pinnacle," says Ms. Rabins, who lives in Towson and attends Barnard College in New York.

This wasn't the first time Ms. Rabins' talents were noticed. Last year, she was named a Presidential Scholar. A violinist, she played in the Netherlands with a group from the Peabody Preparatory and had a choral piece of hers performed by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.

Ms. Rabins says she "squeaked a little and then cried" when she received the news of her latest award. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, who judged the contest, called Ms. Rabins "patient and thoughtful" and her work "true and genuine and, often, unforgettable."

Her poetry career began in kindergarten when she wrote "The Traffic Light." But she didn't become serious about her craft until the seventh grade.

"I was all angst-ridden and writing song lyrics -- your general 12-year-old stuff," she says. "I just kind of found my niche."

To collect any money from this prize, she must wait until Artscape in July, when her collection of poems is sold there. She gets to set the price, and determining the financial worth of her work has been difficult.

"People generally charge $5," she says. "But with inflation I might have to make it $6."

Mary Corey

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