Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to handle an injured person till medical help arrives

Imagine you had eye-witnessed an accident, or you were the first one who arrived at an accident scene, and you saw an injured person lying on the ground. What would be your instinctive response?Out of good will, many people would tend to move the injured person to a safer place or into a more comfortable position. However, this might cause even more serious injury to the person.
A prominent example is when the injured person is suffering bone fracture. If proper procedures are not followed, moving the victim may cause further dislocation of the fractured bones, which may in turn result in serious harms such as puncturing major blood vessels, perforation of the skin by the bone fragments etc. The consequence may be even more dreadful if the injured person is suffering from spinal injury in which the spinal cord of the victim may be affected by the move.There have been incidents in which the victims had been moved before medical personnel arrived. Fortunately, no serious damage was done.
This article provides important basic guidance for physically handling injured persons.
How could one know an injured person is suffering from fractured bones?
Bone fracture is likely to occur in certain circumstances, such as:
Direct Impact: A bone may break at a point where a heavy blow is received. For example, in a traffic accident, the shinbone (tibia) of the person may be broken by the impact of a moving vehicle's bumper. When fell from height, a person would very likely have suffered from fractured bones.
Indirect force: Force may also travel from the point of impact through the body to fracture bones elsewhere. Indirect force may also be produced by a twist or wrench, for instance, the bones of the forearms or the wrists may break by the sudden impact when a person is trying to support the body weight with hands when falling down. Sometimes, violent muscle contraction could fracture the bone to which the muscle is attached.
There are some obvious signs indicating bone fractures such as :
-Shortening, bending, or twisting of the limb.
-Difficulty in moving a limb normally, or at all.
-Tenderness over a bone if gently touched; pain at or near the site of injury , made worse by movement; severe or "sickening pain", which often indicates dislocation.
-Swelling and bruising, which may develop at the fracture site.
What about spinal injury? Extreme care must be taken when handling spinal injury .Not only is the spine crucial to the skeletal support of our body, it is closely associated with the spinal cord which provides neural connections from our brain to all parts of our body. If a person suffering from spinal fracture is moved without proper precaution, the spinal cord may be damaged with severe consequences. The spinal cord is very delicate, and if damaged, may result in loss of power or sensation in the parts of the body below the injured area.There are some clues in recognizing spinal injury , such as:
-Pain in the neck or back at the level of injury.
-Deformation of the normal curve of the spine.
-When the spinal cord has also been damaged, there may be loss of control over limbs, and/or abnormal sensations by the victim, such as burning or tingling.
-The injured person may complain about limbs feeling "stiff", "heavy", or "clumsy", or may feel difficulty with breathing.One should rely on trained first-aiders or medical personnel to assess the condition of the injured person and take necessary actions.

(Article reproduced from http://www.ab.ust.hk/)

1 comment:

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