Cochin Cardiac Club

Health Blog by Dr.Uday Nair


Chances are at some point in your life you will witness an accident. While most accidents are minor and not life-threatening, major accidents occur every day. Unlike in other western countries where proper procedures are set to take the accident victim to the medical emergency care, in India there is lot of confusion and myths in this regard.In India, there is no dedicated emergency medical services, so in case of accidents, it is the general public or bystanders who come to the rescue of the accident victims. At some time, they do things which are contrary to the principle of trauma care, although unintentionally.

India, leads in road accidents in the world and most of these accidents are caused due to the driver’s error. Majority of the accidents take place in night and during early morning. Drunk driving is one of the main causes of majority of the night accidents.
The fact remains that most of these accident victims may have been rescued if timely medical help is provided and this often occurs due to passer- by neglecting the victim to avoid further trouble and harassment by authorities which is not true in today’s context. Things have changed and now you can admit the victim to any nearby hospital and no medical practitioner can deny to admit the victim or wait for the police to register the case.

What can we do?

*Call authorities or emergency services immediately if you believe someone to be seriously injured. If you are the only person on the scene, try to establish breathing in the patient before calling for help. Do not leave the victim alone for an extensive amount of time.

*Avoid another collision by parking your car beyond the accident. Turn on your emergency flashers and make sure it’s safe to approach the scene. Look for hazards such as downed power lines and spilled gasoline. If you do come across a dangerous area, alert the emergency operator and avoid the area.

*Caring for someone who has just gone through serious trauma includes both physical treatment and emotional support. Remember to stay calm and try to be reassuring; let the person know that help is on its way and that everything will be alright.

*Bandaging wounds, attempting to splint broken bones, or using more advanced first-aid techniques, especially if professional help is on the way, isn't generally recommended. If an injury is obviously life threatening, and waiting for help would endanger a life, then necessary action probably should be taken.
*Use a clean cloth as a compress to stop the flow of blood from a serious wound. In the case of head wounds use as light a pressure as possible because he could have a fractured skull. 

*if a victim has stopped breathing, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR (if you're trained in it) becomes vital. If, on the other hand, the person merely lapsed into unconsciousness but is still breathing normally, heroic measures probably aren't warranted.

* Many car accidents inflict neck or spine injuries to the victim and movement could make injuries worse. If the victim is in imminent danger (like a car fire), and you can move the victim without causing injury to yourself, do so while avoiding unnecessary bending or twisting the neck, body or limbs. For example, if you find the victim with legs crossed, move him with his legs crossed. The sharp edges of broken bones can cause internal damage if they’re moved around. Dragging the victim is better than trying to lift him or her by yourself. The best way to drag the victim is by his or her clothes above the shoulders or by the ankles. 

*Shock, often caused a loss of blood flow to the body, frequently follows physical and occasionally psychological trauma. A person in shock will frequently have cool, clammy skin, be agitated or have an altered mental status, and have pale color to the skin around the face and lips. Untreated, shock can be fatal. Anyone who has suffered a severe injury or life-threatening situation is at risk for shock. 
*If a victim appears to be in shock, have him or her lie down and elevate the feet if you can do so without causing further injury to the neck, back or wound.Do not move the victim if you believe there might be a spinal injury. In cool weather, place blankets or coats under and around the victim to conserve body heat. Reassure the victim. Gentleness, kindness and understanding play an important role in the treatment of shock.

Please Note
Traffic accidents are terrible things. They can be traumatic for victims and bystanders alike. Still, if you ever have to "take charge" at the scene of an accident, keep in mind that your primary job is to help protect the victims until professional help arrives--not treat their injuries.
In emergency medicine, the golden hour is the time lasting from a few minutes to several hours following traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death. A victim's chances of survival are greatest if they receive care within a short period of time after a severe injury. 

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