It is a common sight to see a group of people curiously huddled around a crashed vehicle on a busy road, but nobody can be seen taking any substantial action to help the victim. Most accident witnesses remain clueless or have little knowledge of the steps to take in order to provide relief to the victim.
India has recorded one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world, making road safety a major cause of concern. Nearly 10% of the world’s road accidents occur in India with a fatality rate of 1,20,000 every year. These alarming statistics underline the importance of basic road safety awareness and also of life saving techniques.
According to WHO, most deaths occur outside healthcare facilities. Some of them are unavoidable on account of the severity of the initial injuries. Among the remainder, a considerable proportion could be avoided as is apparent from a comparison of the differences in mortality rates from trauma in different countries.
Lack of awareness and no basic knowledge of life saving techniques are major contributors in the apathy of pedestrians. The indecisiveness of bystanders and wastage of precious time can seriously endanger the victim’s life and drastically reduce his chances of survival.
Swift Action Can Save Lives:
The first aid in emergency situations involves techniques that enhance the preparedness and trigger immediate response to health emergencies. Evidence suggests that after a road crash or any other accident if life-saving measures are immediately applied by anyone on the accident site victims stand a greater chance of survival and also a reduction in the adverse consequences of their injuries. The victim needs to be stabilized before the arrival of emergency medical help, and here’s how you can do it:
- Approach the victims in a calm and composed manner. Discourage other helping citizens from handling the victims in a brashly as this can cause further damage. Shift the patient away from oncoming traffic, broken glass, leaking car fluids or any other hazardous material.
- Inform the nearest medical centre or police station.
- Any victim with breathing difficulty, unconsciousness or damaged airway should be sent to the nearest hospital at the earliest – such victims should be given utmost care & greater priority over other victims.
- Immobilize the cervical spine by using two wooden blocks on either side of the neck (do not disturb the spine and head by shaking them). Shaking the head & neck while shifting the victim may cause major damage and paralyze the patient completely.
- Do not try to remove the helmet until the victim reaches the hospital.
- Bleeding can be stemmed by applying continuous pressure to the open wound with a cloth, or tying the cloth gently around the injury.
- Inspect the limbs of the victim for any fractures, broken bone or other damage while being careful to not apply any undue pressure or force. Secure the broken limb by tying a small stick to either side of the limb with a cloth.
- If the victim is in shock or is pale, loosen any tight clothing and wrap a blanket around him. Rest his legs on a raised platform, or even on your knees.
- Finally, make certain that the victim has a pulse until he reaches the nearest medical facility.
It is the moral responsibility of every citizen to offer help and rescue victims of any accident he or she happens to come across. Some basic awareness coupled with a calm demeanor can go a long way in helping a road accident victim and possibly saving his life.
By:Dr Sree Sowjanya
This article from India is great to see with a massive growth in population and huge amounts of road accidents, even the most basic first aid skills will come in handy.