Act Fast With Injuries And Save Long Term Pain

afwialtThe scene is an expressway. A car has crossed three lanes of traffic and gone into a guardrail. Inside the car is an unconscious woman, bleeding from her mouth and leg. A number of people have pulled off the road to help. When you arrive, the woman is beginning to awaken and is confused The car is still running and smoke or steam is coming from under the hood. All the people who have stopped are just standing around looking at the car and the injured driver, but nobody has touched the victim, spoken, to her, or helped her. And surprisingly, nobody has summoned help.

If it seems strange to you that an accident victim with such an obvious need for medical attention had not prompted someone to summon help, you’ll be even more amazed to learn this is typical. Studies have shown that the more people there are at an accident scene, the less likely anybody has aided the victim or called for help.

What this accident scene, and every accident scene, needs is someone to organize the help that is available and someone to initiate the emergency medical system. Action is needed, not standing around.

The car must be turned off and the possibility of fire considered. Traffic must be controlled. Someone needs to talk to the victim to calm her and let her know she is not alone. Someone needs to summon medical help, and someone may need to give first aid.

Not all cases are this obvious. Sometimes a medical emergency can be difficult to recognize. For example, a student lying on the floor by his locker could be just resting, trying to get attention, or rehearsing a scene from a play. What clues might indicate this is really a medical emergency?

Using Your Senses

Your senses can alert you to unusual noises, sights, odors, or behavior. Is that student lying in the hallway moaning? Is there broken glass next to him? Is he panting instead of breathing normally?

Unusual noises–screams, calls for help, crashing metals, screeching tires–or even changes in the sound of machinery can alert you to an emergency.

Unusual sights are even more obvious. Seeing a chemical spilled in lab, observing power lines jumping and sparking, and seeing smoke can be clues to a serious emergency. Many people are aware that a person who has been drinking has unusual breath odor. But are you aware that certain disorders, such as diabetes, can also produce unusual breath odor? Other clues might include clutching the throat, slurred speech, confusion, sweating for no apparent reason, and unusual skin color. When you observe any of these includes, recognize the possibility of a medical emergency. Don’t rely on other people’s reactions or assume others have taken charge.

Mixed Emotions

When you encounter a medical emergency, it is perfectly normal to experience a variety of emotions including fear, embarrassment, or a desire to be someplace–any place–else.

One of the first decisions you must make is how involved you will get in the situation. You have a lot of choices. You may choose not to be involved at all. Many people choose this, but such a decision will not help the victim. You may choose to just leave and call for medical help. Or you may choose to summon help and then give first aid to the victim. Whatever your choice, act quickly and you will find that your fear and other emotions lessen as you become actively involved.

True Emergencies

Knowing when to summon help and when the situation can be handled without medical intervention is tricky. But there are some situations that are definitely true emergencies. Consider this list of serious situations:

1. The victim becomes unconscious and cannot be awakened.

2. The victim is having trouble breathing or is not breathing at all.

3. The victim has complained of chest pain or a feeling of pressure in the chest.

4. The victim has abdominal pain that is not going away.

5. You see that the victim has vomited or passed blood.

6. The victim is suspected of being poisoned.

7. There are injuries to the head, neck, or back.

8. You suspect that there are broken bones.

Other true emergencies may not involve injuries but do involve the safety of others. Always summon help when there has been a fire or an explosion. Similarly, downed power lines are a serious problem with the potential of killing anyone who comes in contact with them. The presence of poisonous gas or chemicals is a real threat. Vehicle collisions, with or without injuries, require professional response. Any victim who cannot be moved easily may need professional transportation to a medical facility.

When you call for help, remember to give the following information:

* The exact location of the emergency, including nearby intersections and house numbers

* Your name and the phone number from which you are calling.

* What happened and how many people are involved

* A brief description of the condition of the victims, including symptoms and what has been done for them

After calling, return to the victim and continue to care for and reassure her that help is on the way.

You’re the First Link

By taking charge of a situation, recognizing the need for medical help, and making that phone call, you are activating a life-saving system of care. Without you, the first link in the chain of survival will not be forged, and a life could be lost.

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