Lifesaving lessons for all: Do you know what to do?
23 January 2013
When footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed during a football match in March, it was the quick-thinking of medical staff that saved the Bolton midfielder's life. Would you know what to do if you w
1. Stay calm. Breathe - as simple as this sounds in a crisis the body's cardiovascular and respiratory systems can easily go into overdrive, clouding your judgement and causing you to panic. Take a deep breath, and focus on what you can do to assist the casualty.
2. Assess the situation carefully checking your own safety as well as the patient's.
You may be the only person available and will be no help if you become a casualty yourself. Consider the potential dangers, for example fire, petrol or falling debris.
3. History. If possible find out what happened. Can the casualty speak? Did anyone else see the incident? Are there any clues to suggest how the casualty obtained their injuries? You need to know what you're treating.
4. Medical ID. Check if the casualty is wearing medical identification, such as a necklace, bracelet or sports band, this will enable you to get a better idea of existing medical conditions and could explain some of the casualty's symptoms. For example, diabetes, cardiac problems and implants, epilepsy, allergies and pulmonary conditions.
5. Signs of shock. If the victim is clammy, shivering, breathing harshly, nauseous and pale they could be in shock.
Recognising shock and treating it correctly could save a life. Keep the casualty warm and as comfortable as possible until medical help arrives, and speak to them calmly and comfortingly to reduce their levels of anxiety. With anaphylactic shock, check to see if the victim is carrying auto-injectors or other allergy treatment.
6. Do you need professional help? Dial 999 for an ambulance if required - always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk.
Seek help from other first aiders or bystanders. When calling the emergency services, they will need to know: - The exact location - What has happened - How many people are involved - Injuries/symptoms - Any other information you may have Remember to be clear and concise; don't hang up until the operator has let you know they have all the information they need.
7. Learn your ABC - Airways, Breathing and Circulation. If the casualty is unresponsive you can make the difference between life and death while you wait for emergency assistance. You can perform CPR by learning how to check airways, breathing and circulation, three basic steps of this lifesaving technique. A first aid training course will help ensure that you are competent and confident in checking ABC and performing CPR on adults, children and babies.
8. Recovery position. If the casualty is unconscious, but breathing normally, it is a good idea to put them in the recovery position, this will keep them in a stable position and their airway clear.
9. Monitor your casualty and record vital signs, including level of response, breathing and pulse. Continue monitoring the casualty either until a medical professional arrives or they recover.
10.Confidentiality. Respect the casualty's right to confidentiality concerning medical or personal matters and make sure you respect their dignity.