Medical emergencies are life-threatening situations that call for urgent intervention or medical attention. How you react to them can mean the difference between death and survival. Recognizing a medical emergency quickly helps you to decisively and confidently deal with it to save someone’s life. Common medical emergencies include bleeding, breathing difficulties, seizures, severe pain, heart attack, collapsing, and more.
Learning how to deal with a medical emergency helps you save people’s lives before their condition deteriorates. Below are tips for dealing with medical emergencies.
1. Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
CPR is a life-saving technique performed on a patient suffering from cardiac arrest. It also prevents brain death by supplying oxygenated blood to the brain, reducing a patient’s recovery time. If your CPR technique is rusty, perform a hands-only resuscitation which equals 100 to 120 uninterrupted chest compressions per minute until a medical emergency team arrives.
If you’re experienced in CPR, check the patient’s breathing and pulse. Perform up to 30 chest compressions followed by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Find out what it takes to be ACLS certified and undertake the course at Newcastle Training to learn how to assess a patient, identify the problem, and deliver care that improves a patient’s outcome from cardiovascular emergencies, cerebral vascular emergencies, and respiratory arrest.
2. Call your local emergency number
After assessing the patient’s condition, call for emergency service if the situation is life-threatening, if their condition could become life-threatening on the way to the hospital, or if moving the patient could cause more damage. In addition, call for an emergency if the patient requires paramedic skills or equipment or if distance or traffic jams could cause delay when getting the patient to the hospital.
3. Keep a fully-equipped first aid kit
Medical emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. A first aid kit helps you handle them without delay, as any time wasted may cause irreparable damage. Ensure you have all the must-haves for your first aid kit, such as adhesive tape, elastic wrap bandages, absorbent compress dressing, breathing barrier, instant cold compress, sterile gauze pads, and more.
4. Safely handle electrocution
Electrocution happens when you touch a live naked wire, rail, or cable to cause a mild or highly severe shock. Where there is a high voltage, the burns sustained can be severe. In case of a shock, acting fast can save someone’s life. First, switch off the current, and if you can’t, use a poor heat conductor to cut off the supply. Using dry insulating materials, carefully take the patient away from the scene. Unless the patient has an injury on their chest, abdomen, or head, lay them down on their back and loosen clothing around their waist, neck, and chest. Wrap them in a blanket, give them water and other liquids but not alcohol, and call the emergency response team.
5. Swiftly help a choking person
Choking causes blockage of the windpipe, leading to shortness of breath or even death if swift action isn’t taken. Bend your victim’s head and shoulders and hit their back hard. For a child, hold them upside down and knock hard in between their shoulders.
6. Check the in case of emergency (ICE)
If a patient is alone and unable to communicate, check their ICE to contact a close relative to get some basic medical history to determine if they have any underlying medical conditions like stroke or diabetes and allergies. This will help you give the patient proper care.
7. Act fast in case of heat stroke
If a person experiences a heat stroke, quickly move the patient and reduce excess clothing to cool them by placing them in a cool water tub or shower. You can also spray them using a garden hose pipe, sponge with cold water or fan them while misting. You may also use ice packs or wet towels on the neck, groin, and armpits or cover them with damp sheets. Additionally, make the victim drink cool water to hydrate.
8. Be careful with convulsions
Most seizures usually stop on their own. Your emergency response should aim to maintain airways or avoid more damage. Refrain from holding the victim down to restrict their shaking movements. Lay them down to prevent falls and remove any objects that could hurt their head. To prevent them from biting their tongue and bleeding, don’t put anything in their mouth. Loosen their clothes around the neck. Call for emergency medical help if the convulsions persist.
9. Keep calm
An emergency medical situation can be nerve-wracking, but your first response and the outcome depend not only on your expertise but also on how calm you are when handling it. This helps ensure your safety and that of your patient.
Whenever a medical emergency occurs, handle it promptly to avoid loss of life or health deterioration. Learn to identify the symptoms so you can offer appropriate assistance. Watch out for yourself and call for medical help when necessary.