New Children's Mercy breakthrough to help kids worldwide

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Doctors checking the development of children have often used scales to help measure weight.

But in third-world countries, scales aren't always available, leading one Kansas City-area physician to develop a way to determine her pediatric patients' weight without using a scale.

Dr. Susan Abdel-Rahman, with Children's Mercy Hospital, has coined the term "Mercy tape" to describe a tape measure that uses the length and circumference of a child's arm to determine their weight.

"Every time an ambulance goes out to pick up a child who is in trauma, they've got to estimate the weight of that child," Abdel-Raham said. "There's not the time to weigh the children, so a lot of that is based on an estimate of the provider."

More than 1,200 Kansas City kids participated in Abdel-Raham's study, which not only helps developing countries, but can also be useful in quickly determining the amount of medicine appropriate for the child's weight.

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