Medical emergencies occur without warning. Without immediate medical care, the patient risks suffering severe health complications or even death. Unfortunately, medical help is not always instantly available. Nevertheless, there is so much more you can do to not only get the help needed but also help sustain the patient’s life in the meanwhile.
So, what do you do when faced with a medical emergency? Here are helpful guidelines for two case scenarios: whereby you are the patient or the person offering the help.
What to Do When You are the Responder
As the first responder to a medical emergency situation, your actions can save the patient’s life. You don’t even have to be versed in medicine to save a life. The following activities are recommended:
- Call for help
The first step should be to call for help from the nearest medical facility. If possible, you can also transport the patient to the hospital yourself to save time – some circumstances, however, hinder this.Your first call should be to your main emergency number – 911 for the U.S. However, it also helps to have contacts to other emergency responders such as a local hospital or the fire department center.
It is also advisable to accompany the patient to the hospital and follow-up on his/her condition – you can even reach out to their contacts to notify friends and loved-ones of their state.
- Give first aid services
Before help arrives there are some things you can do. Depending on the specific medical emergency, then you can offer first aid services. For instance, if the patient is bleeding profusely, then you can cover the wounds using available cloths to prevent excessive loss of blood. If the patient is not breathing, then don’t worry as all is not lost – simply administer CPR or rescue breathing before making any conclusions.
- Recovery positioning
If a person is in a semi-conscious or unconscious state, then the best thing to do is place him/her in a recovery position and wait for the medics. It will allow blood to flow to the head and thus regain consciousness – it will also prevent complications such as brain damage and even death.
However, physicians advise against this if the person has a broken spine or neck. As such, first, check to see whether the neck is tender and swollen – this is a sure indication of a broken spine. In such a scenario, then the patient should not be moved at all to prevent further damage.
If you are a caretaker:
If you are responsible for a relative or friend susceptible to medical emergencies, then you should be well versed with the underlying illness. Does the patient take any medicine? Are there fundamental medical procedures that can be applied to prevent dire consequences? If so, do everything that is necessary as you wait for the medics to arrive.
In fact, some caretakers go as far as taking specific remedial classes to enable them to take care of their loved ones.
What to Do When You are the Patient
Numerous people around the world – both young and old – suffer from a wide range of chronic diseases. Most of these illnesses cause complications that occur without warning – for instance, heart disease may cause heart failure without warning. Consequently, these people always have to be prepared to respond quickly to such medical emergencies. The following actions often prove helpful:
- Have a caretaker nearby
In most cases, you may be incapacitated to take any action in case of a medical emergency. As such, it helps to have someone nearby to take action when an emergency occurs. It may be a close relative or personal caretaker. For instance, older adults susceptible to such attacks are placed under the care of nurses and caretakers.
- Have a personal alert system
What happens if there is no one nearby to call for help? The medics have to be alerted one way or another. You can quickly do this yourself by having a personal alert system.
Hospitals have come up with quick alert systems that are easy to use and always within reach of the patient. They are primarily small gadgets customized into wear ables such as chains and bracelets. As such, in case of an emergency, all the patient has to do is press a button and the system prompts the hospital to dispatch medics. This concept is especially popular with the elderly and those suffering from chronic conditions.
- Always have your medicine nearby
Some conditions such as heart disease cause complications that can be temporarily contained by taking medication. In case you suffer from such a condition, then you should always carry your medicine with you wherever you go and take it immediately you notice something wrong. It is also advisable to give a medical report detailing your condition so that anyone who is nearby can know the measures to take when you are incapacitated.