When we talk about the importance of first aid, we are primarily discussing the minor injury, but today we want to talk about the serious injury that might happen here at work. We will discuss emergency care of the victim and the need for getting medical attention without delay.
First, let’s think for a minute of any danger or hazard that may exist around us on the job. Let’s think of some of the things that could happen as we do our work.If someone suffered an injury, would we know what to do, would we have the proper equipment to meet the emergency, and would we know how to use it? Could we recognize a serious injury, and would we know the right thing to do to keep the injury from getting worse?
True, in most cases, the rule is: Don’t try to treat the case. Report it and send for medical care at once. Don’t be in a hurry to move the injured person or fuss around him, for movement is likely to cause more serious injury.
There are some cases, of course, in which we must act quickly and immediately-for example, serious bleeding. A man may bleed to death in relatively few minutes if loss of blood is unchecked after a large vein or artery is cut—especially an artery. When a vein is cut, the blood flows evenly and is dark in color. When an artery is cut, the blood usually spurts and is bright red.
What can we do in the case of severe bleeding? We must stop or diminish the bleeding and see to it that medical help is summoned without delay.
Our first attempt to control the bleeding should be by direct pressure on the wound itself. A large compress made of the cleanest material available (sterile gauze from the first-aid kit is best) should quickly be placed directly over the wound and held there by firm pressure until a bandage can be applied. If nothing else is available, use your bare hand.
If it is seen that bleeding cannot be controlled by direct pressure on the wound, pressure must be applied on the punctured blood vessel at a point away from the wound where flow can be curtailed. For control of bleeding from an artery, there are several pressure points on each side of the body.
Another serious condition is stoppage of breathing. If we cannot detect breathing or if the victim is breathing so slightly that he is getting blue, we must get an air exchange started at once. We must keep oxygen in the blood either by mouth-to- mouth rescue breathing-blowing air directly into the victim’s lungs, or use the back- pressure-arm lift method.
Poisons taken internally are likewise a serious matter. In almost every case, the best thing to do is obtain medical help right away. It is important to tell the doctor what the victim swallowed, since life-saving treatment depends upon the proper antidote to the poison taken. If the nature of the poison is not known, give the suspected container with any remaining contents to the doctor.
Other injuries that are serious include burns that cover large areas of the body, thus causing severe pain and perhaps causing shock. Again, the best thing that can be done is to summon medical aid without delay after covering the burned area with a dressing that you’re sure is sterile. The main treatment is to prevent infection by use of a sterile cover and to keep the victim at rest until a doctor can treat him.
A fracture or even a broken bone is generally not as urgent an injury as the foregoing ones. Nevertheless, medical attention should be obtained quickly. Meanwhile, it is best not to move the victim any more than is needed to make him as comfortable as possible. Let’s all become as well trained in first aid as we can, and get to know what to do and what not to do.
In all types of injuries, shock can occur and can be fatal. Give oxygen if needed and maintain body temperature by placing blankets or any clothing readily available under and over the victim. Avoid administering any liquids.