Conscious and Unconscious Casualties

Use all your senses to obtain maximum information and diagnose the casualty – look, speak, listen, feel and smell.
If the casualty is conscious:

  • look and size up the problem as you approach;
  • ask him if he has pain and where it is;
  • examine that part first;
  • ask him if he thinks there is anything else wrong;
  • examine the casualty carefully in a regular and methodical manner by running your hands gently but firmly over all parts of the body. Start at the head and neck, then check the spine and trunk; the upper limbs, the lower limbs.
  • handle injured parts gently but firmly;
  • make sure there are no other injuries present, which may be masked by pain, by checking for tenderness and bleeding;

Always compare abnormal parts with the normal side. The First Aider need only remove enough of the casualty’s clothing to expose the injuries and treat them. Then check:

  • count the pulse – noting its strength and rhythm;
  • colour of skin, the nail beds and the inside of the eyelids;
  • the nature of the breathing – listen to it: smell the breath;
  • the temperature of the body – whether hot or cold to the touch.

If the casualty is unconscious the task is much more difficult and a thorough detailed examination is necessary. So you must:

  • note if breathing is present: if absent, immediately commence artificial respiration;
  • examine over and under the casualty for dampness which might indicate bleeding. Stop any serious bleeding before proceeding further with the examination;
  • bear in mind the possibility of internal bleeding;
  • establish the cause of unconsciousness by examining the:
    • breathing – rate and depth;
    • pulse — rate and character;
    • face and skin – colour, temperature and condition;
    • pupils of the eyes;
    • head for injury;
    • ears, eyes, nose and mouth for blood and other signs;
    • whole body for signs of injury.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 1st, 2009 at 6:14 pm and is filed under First Aid. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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