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Handling Medical Emergencies

by Premier Hospitals | January 9, 2021 |

Medical emergencies can occur at any time, but that doesn’t mean we should not be prepared to handle them. All of us should know how to recognise and act in an emergency situation. All health care professionals should have knowledge about how to deal with common emergencies effectively. Let’s discuss some of the most common problems that we may have to face. Major Cuts/Bleeding Cuts and Wounds are common occurrences, be it at home, school or our workplaces. Bleeding due to cuts and wounds can cause panic among everyone. While some injuries can be serious requiring treatment at a clinic or hospital, others can be treated at home with good first aid and medicines as per the direction of a certified healthcare provider. Situations where you require immediate emergency care are:

  • If the bleeding is uncontrollable even after first aid treatment
  • If there is any object within the cut
  • If the cut appears to be deep
  • If the underlying tissue or bone is visible
In such cases, please rush to a nearby hospital immediately. Follow the below steps before you reach a hospital:
  • Move the patient to a suitable position and elevate the bleeding body part, except if the body part is a fractured limb. In case of a fractured limb, it must be splinted and immobilised as early as possible.
  • If any blood clots have formed, don’t disturb them.
  • Remove clothing if possible and expose the wound.
  • Remove the visible foreign bodies which can be picked out easily and wipe the wound with a clean dressing.
  • Apply and maintain the pressure on the wound to stop bleeding.
  • Wrap a clean cloth and bandage.
  • Immobilise the part injured. If the injury is near a joint, use any splints if required to immobilise.
Heart Attack/Chest Pain Cardiovascular emergencies are the most common fatal medical emergency. They might not occur as frequently as Road Traffic Accidents but they can have life-threatening consequences if not treated on time. A heart attack or chest pain occurs when the blood supply to your heart is interrupted. This happens when the blood supplying arteries to the heart is blocked due to blood clots. Adults are more vulnerable to heart attacks but can also occur in children and teenagers less frequently. Pain or discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, fainting, sweating, pain in the neck and shoulders are the common symptoms of a heart attack. If you are around a person having a heart attack, don't panic and call an ambulance first. Treatment within the first one and half hour for a heart attack can increase the survival chances. Give an aspirin tablet to the victim before he reaches a hospital, it can reduce the risk of clot formation. Make the patient sit in a comfortable position and remove tight clothing around the chest. If he is unable to breathe normally or the patient is unconscious, start doing CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) which can double the chances of survival. Fractures A fracture is referred to as a broken bone. It can happen to any bone in your body. Fractures are of many different types which include stable fractures, open or compound fracture, comminuted fractures, transverse fractures and oblique fractures. Treatment for fractures Make sure the injured part is immobilised before the patient moved unless his/her life is in immediate danger. Immobilising the injured parts at once prevents further damage and stops the bleeding which takes place in open fractures. It also prevents the ends of the broken bones from piercing into the skin, damaging blood vessels, nerves and muscles. Bandages or splints are used to immobilise the fracture. However, these are the measures to be followed immediately when a fracture happened. The main treatment fracture treatment depends on the type, severity of the fracture. Electrocution/Electric shock It happens when the live and naked wire comes in contact with the body. A shock varies from a mild to extremely severe resulting in burns. The burns might be deep, especially with high voltage lines. Sometimes electrocution can be life-threatening which even causes death. Follow the below steps in case of a shock to aid the patient’s life
  • Cut off the power supply by removing the plug or breaking the cable free. You can also push the victim aside but not with bare hands, use a wooden stick or any plastic material. Never attempt to pull the person or cut the cable with iron-based objects.
  • Comfort the patient by laying down on their back, and turn him to the side.
  • Remove tight clothing around their neck, chest and waist.
  • Wrap them in a blanket or rug.
  • Give some water or any other liquids but never alcohol.
Choking This happens if an obstruction blocks the windpipe, leading a person to short of breath. If you see any person choking dislodge the obstruction of the respiratory tract by bending the victim’s head and shoulders forward. If the victim is a small child, hold him upside down & knock them from back hard, between the two shoulders. Try causing vomiting so that the person vomits the object that created the blockage. Fits and seizures Fits and seizures might occur in people diagnosed with epilepsy but often seen in people who don’t have such problems. They cause involuntary and uncontrollable jerking of one part or the whole body. Another kind of fits or seizure is that the victim might not move or has a minimal movement of their body, and the victim can seem to be staring into space. In this condition, the victim tends not to answer when spoken to. It is very important to remember that do not move the patient or try to stop them jerking if a person is having a seizure unless the condition is life-threatening. First aid for fits aims to keep the patient safe until the attack stops on its own. Loose their tight clothes around the neck, don’t control them or place any object in their mouth. Clear the surroundings for ventilation and stay with them until the attack stops. After a seizure attack, it’s essential to seek medical attention for preventive measures. Swallowing poison Some people may intentionally swallow poisonous substances while some swallow unknowingly. Cleaning chemicals, pesticides, and medications are the common toxic substances people used to swallow. These situations need emergency medical attention. However, if a person suspected swallowing poison, try to make him vomit the poison meanwhile taking to the hospital. It can increase the chances of survival. After reaching a hospital, the health care professionals follow the general steps to take to extract the poison out from the stomach and prevent it from spreading further. There are many emergency conditions, but the topics discussed above are common conditions. Handling common emergencies is a special skill. You no need to be healthcare care professional to learn first aid techniques. For more information on this area or if you want to speak to a healthcare professional about this topic, you can always contact our specialist doctors at Premier Hospital.