What to do in an ac­ci­dent

The Manica Post - - Health/motivation - Dr Tendai Zuze

AS WE get into the long week­end and Christ­mas hol­i­days, the high vol­ume of traf­fic, poor roads, rash and neg­li­gent driv­ing and de­fec­tive ve­hi­cles, among other fac­tors, will cause a num­ber of ac­ci­dents on the roads.

How­ever, the usual high num­ber of deaths can be at­trib­uted to the fact that most ac­ci­dent vic­tims do not get proper med­i­cal at­ten­tion and first aid on time. So, would you know what to do if you or some­one else was in an ac­ci­dent? Be­low are some of the im­por­tant things to do if you are one of the first peo­ple to get to the scene of an ac­ci­dent or if you are un­for­tu­nate enough to be in­volved in one your­self. En­sure a safe en­vi­ron­ment: Take a good look at the sit­u­a­tion and work out what is go­ing on. There could be sev­eral dan­ger­ous haz­ards in­volved at the scene of a traf­fic ac­ci­dent and these can in­clude bro­ken glass, flu­ids leak­ing from ve­hi­cles and other ve­hi­cles trav­el­ling on the road un­aware of the ac­ci­dent. So your own safety is im­por­tant.

Check your­self: check your­self for any in­juries. Try to as­sess how well you can move your limbs, and if you ex­pe­ri­ence symp­toms such as dizzi­ness, etc. Re­mem­ber you need to be fit enough to help oth­ers. Check the other per­son(s) for in­juries: If other peo­ple are in­jured, first as­sess the ex­tent of their in­juries. Treat the qui­etest per­son first, they are usu­ally more se­ri­ously in­jured or can­not breathe. Peo­ple who can talk or scream, on the other hand, can breathe there­fore can be treated a lit­tle later. Ask for the pa­tient’s name, if he re­sponds,

it means he is able to un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion and has most likely not suf­fered a se­vere head in­jury. Look for signs of breath­ing:

Next, check if the per­son is breath­ing and if he has a pulse.

Call for help: Im­me­di­ately call for an am­bu­lance or rush the per­son to a hospi­tal. Once you know more about the pa­tient’s con­di­tion you will in a bet­ter po­si­tion to tell the doc­tors about his/her con­di­tion. Check for ob­struc­tions in the per­son’s mouth and throat: If you do not hear any breath sounds, check his/her mouth for any ob­struc­tions. If there is some­thing ob­struct­ing the air­way, use your in­dex and mid­dle fin­ger to clear the air­way. Per­form life-sav­ing tech­niques:

If there is no pulse, start car­diopul­monary

re­sus­ci­ta­tion (CPR) if you know how.

In grave sit­u­a­tions: If there is bleed­ing from the mouth or the pa­tient is vom­it­ing, turn the per­son to his/her side. This will min­imise any chances of the per­son chok­ing.

Deal with open wounds: If there are ex­ten­sive wounds, try to con­trol the bleed­ing us­ing pres­sure to the area us­ing a cloth. Press down with your palms rather than your fin­ger­tips. Al­ways sus­pect spinal in­juries:

If the per­son’s neck is in an awk­ward po­si­tion or the per­son is un­con­scious, do not move the pa­tient. Get help im­me­di­ately. This could mean that the per­son’s neck is bro­ken, and mov­ing him/her in such a sit­u­a­tion can cause more harm than good.

Keep the per­son warm: Usu­ally ac­ci­dent vic­tims feel ex­ces­sively cold due to shock. There­fore keep­ing them warm is es­sen­tial to sur­vival. You can use what­ever you have to do this, such as a T-shirt, jacket, etc.

Avoid feed­ing the per­son: Do not give the in­jured per­son any wa­ter, food or other flu­ids through the mouth; it could lead to the pa­tient chok­ing.

Should you be re­quired to ferry an in­jured per­son to a hospi­tal, you need to be mind­ful of the fol­low­ing:

◆ The pa­tient should be trans­ported on a stretcher or a stiff board. This is im­por­tant as re­duc­ing the amount of move­ment the per­son ex­pe­ri­ences is es­sen­tial to avoid his/her in­juries from be­com­ing worse.

◆ Keep the per­son’s neck and back straight. You could place a rolled up towel or thick cloth un­der the neck for bet­ter sup­port.

◆ En­sure that the per­son is ly­ing down flat.

◆ If there is only a limb in­jury, the pa­tient can be trans­ported in a sit­ting po­si­tion.

◆ In case of a bleed­ing in­jury, lift the in­jured part above the per­son’s body level and ap­ply pres­sure on the re­gion. Keep ap­ply­ing pres­sure till you reach the hospi­tal. This helps con­trol and even­tu­ally stop the bleed­ing.

◆ Make sure the per­son has a pulse and is breath­ing on the way to the hospi­tal. If they stop breath­ing, be pre­pared to start CPR in the ve­hi­cle. Happy hol­i­days.

Call the near­est po­lice sta­tion if you hap­pen to be the first per­son to be at the ac­ci­dent scene

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