Lisa was on her way to work when she saw a woman lying on the sidewalk by the park. Lisa stopped her car near the woman who appeared to be lying still. As she approached the woman, Lisa started going over in her mind the steps she had read in an article recently on how to assess an unconscious victim. Unlike Lisa, you may not be so sure of what to do in an emergency like this. Here are a few tips that will help you stay calm and do the needful in an emergency.
First, check and make sure if the victim is conscious. If you find that the victim is not responding to your questions, call 911 immediately. Check if the victim is breathing or has a pulse. If the victim has neither a pulse and is not breathing start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) immediately and continue to do so until the emergency response team arrives on the scene. If the person is breathing, then leave him or her in the position you found them initially.
On the other hand, as in Lisa’s case, if you find that the victim is able to respond to your questions, then you can follow these steps for checking a victim that is conscious.
Introduce yourself and ask questions
Introducing yourself is a good way to confirm if the person is alert and not disoriented from whatever caused him or her to be a victim. Ask questions to get detailed information about what happened such as:
- Do you remember what happened?
- What were you doing?
- Did you lose consciousness?
- Do you feel pain in any part of your body?
- Are you on any medications and do you have any medical conditions?
- If you are in pain how severe is it on a scale of 0-10 with 0 being no pain and 10 being severe pain?
Make a note of all the answers so you can provide these important details to the medical team. Interviewing any witnesses will also give you a complete picture of the whole situation.
Performing an assessment of the conscious victim
If possible, ask the victim to remain in the position he or she was found while you complete the head to toe assessment. Start in a systematic manner from the head and proceed downwards till the toes and check for any injury, bumps, bleeding, or discoloration. After you make sure that there is no immediate danger like broken bones or sprains, the victim can be helped to a more comfortable position till medical help arrives. In the case of a child or baby, the assessment should be done from toe to head.
Other tips to keep in mind
In the case of a conscious adult victim, obtain consent after introducing yourself. Explain in clear terms that you are going to get help for the person and request consent for the same. Jot down the name of the person and address him or her using their name. Speak clearly and slowly as the person may still be under the impact or shock related to the emergency situation. You may be able to spot a medic alert bracelet or tag on the person if they have any medical condition or is an older adult with a loss of memory. This bracelet will have all the information that is required for a doctor.
In case of any emergency, do as Lisa did. She first checked the victim to see if she is unconscious or conscious. She asked a man walking by to call 911. Since the woman was conscious, Lisa started asking her questions before she started assessing the woman from head to toe for injuries or any other medical issues.