Are you prepared if a medical emergency strikes?
We’ve been having crazy weather and natural disasters all across our country. Many sporting events take place in more rugged and harsh environments. Add to that the high number of accidents on our roads and increasing active shooter events, and you never know when first aid knowledge might be needed.
Be prepared beyond basic first aid with these must-know tips for medical emergencies beyond the first 15 minutes.
Do you know what to do in an emergency when no help is coming?
I didn’t even think about it myself until I read an article about Jake Drumm, founder of Drumm Emergency Solutions. His family owned business is based in East Tennessee, where he offers hands-on training such as tactical, land navigation and wilderness emergency training courses.
Tips beyond initial first aid for medical emergencies from trauma to prolonged field care.
When emergency service are not immediately available, or not at all, many other factors come into play when caring for an injured person. Mr. Drumm, a career paramedic and educator, uses the acronym ‘HITMAN’ to run through daunting, but obviously vital, prolonged field care essentials.
HITMAN is to be used beyond the initial 15 minute emergency care.
H – Hydration, Hypothermia, Hygiene & High Anxiety
Hydration is important! You can tell how well someone is hydrated by how frequently they urinate and the color of their pee. The lighter the urine the better.
#1 cause of death is exposure in austere care environments
Hypothermia is having a lower body temperature than normal, it is defined by a core temperature below 95° F (35° C). Someone with hypothermia is usually not aware of it. While you wait for emergency help, very carefully remove any wet clothes and replace them with warm, dry coats and blankets.
What does hypothermia do to your body? The first sign of hypothermia is shivering. Once hypothermia sets in, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to heart and respiratory system failure, and eventually to death.
Keep the patient and equipment as clean as possible. Good hygiene is paramount! Other illnesses and/or infections can cause additional problems. Also, remember to keep yourself calm to be able to give good care. Avoiding ‘high anxiety‘ as much as possible is a critical component in any first aid situation.
I – Infections
Learn how to deal with fevers and infections. While the infection might not kill you, it can severely tax your energy reserves and limit your mobility. Rest and drinking plenty of fluids is usually all that is needed. With limited exceptions, “as long as that fever is controlled, and as long as you are drinking and eating, that fever is not going to kill you” Drumm states.
T – Tourniquets, Trends & Tidy Up
A combat-approved tourniquet is a must have in any first aid kit. Learn the protocols for tourniquet conversion. How to apply it, for how long and how to release it without poisoning the body. A tourniquet that has been on for too long can potentially cause permanent damage or become fatal.
Click image to watch this training video on the ProTrainings website
It’s important to keep thorough notes of vital signs, trends and treatments, including times. While under extreme pressure, you will remember nothing and will have no idea what you did or didn’t do 20 minutes prior.
Tidy up as best you can! You will probably not be able to stay clean in an austere environment. You will have to work extra hard to keep yourself, your patient and the surrounding area clean.
M – Medications
Many people, not just the elderly, take prescribed medications on a daily basis. This includes antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or antipsychotic drugs. When in a long term medical situation, develop a plan to wean someone off their medication as slowly as possible.
A – Analgesia & Alimentary
Figure out a plan for pain control. It is important to remember that pain (analgesia) assessment is not a singular process. Reassessment of the patient for both medical stability and pain control is paramount to adequate patient care. RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) aims to reduce edema and can provide some analgesia to an injured body part.
Alimentary refers to nutrition and digestions, someone doesn’t stop peeing, pooping and vomiting just because they are sick or injured.
“Far more people died in Haiti from cholera than from the big earthquake.” Jake Drumm
N – Nutrition & No-Go
Nutrition is the caloric intake a person needs to survive and thrive. For instance, a person with burns to 40 percent of their body surface requires 10,000 calories in a 24-hour period. Take a look at a selection of healthy travel snacks to have on hand in case of an emergency.
In a prolonged emergency situation you might need to make the decision to stop care. No-Go is a concept that seems extremely difficult and maybe outright impossible when you think about it, but there are situations when it is better to let the person die than to prolong the inevitable. You will not be able to fix everything.
How prepared are you for an emergency crisis? There are many training videos available for free. This YouTube video depicts a simulated leg injury in a 4 year old hiker. His siblings are with him on the hike as well as an adult. SWAT-T tourniquets are deployed from multiple backpacks to assist in the construction of a long leg splint prior to evacuation to their car.
Would you know what to do in an emergency? Leave us a comment below.
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2 thoughts on “6 Tips For Medical Emergencies When No Help Is Coming”
Brilliant outline of practical information that everyone should know. We all need to remain vigilant when it comes to our loved ones well being.
Thank you Reginald, we appreciate your comment!