Patient and Family Perspectives

  • Published May 31, 2023
Sodders Family

Featuring members of EMSC’s Family Advisory Network (FAN). Learn more about the FAN.

Name: Paul Sodders

State: Iowa

Why did you become a FAN? “I have always had a passion for medically fragile children. Early in my professional career, I was a pediatric radiation therapist in Chicago. When I became a father, my youngest was diagnosed with triplegic cerebral palsy. Because of the many medical issues he has had to face, we have become somewhat experts navigating emergency care for children.”

What is the most important thing for emergency practitioners to know about caring for children in emergencies?

“Remember that our children are as diverse as non-medically fragile children. Each child is different and has different needs and triggers. It is important to talk TO our children and not AT them when caring for them in an emergency setting. Treat each child's caregiver as a resource and let them fill in the gaps when our children may not be able to communicate everything clearly and effectively to providers. When you look at my child, he is obviously physically disabled. When you look at my child, you can tell that he may have cognitive problems. When you speak to my child... he hears every word you say. Every word.”