Emergencies can happen anywhere – at home, at the workplace, on the street, at a movie theatre. A medical emergency can arise when one least expects it. This is most likely when you have young children or elderly people living with you.
The Golden Hour
In emergency situations, the first hour of a traumatic or medical emergency is called the ‘Golden Hour’. The patient’s chances of survival and recovery are greatest if they receive care within the shortest period of time after a severe injury or medical emergency. In cases of severe trauma, for example internal bleeding, surgical intervention may be required. Complications such as shock may occur if the patient is not taken care of appropriately. This is the reason the time between injury and treatment should ideally be kept to a bare minimum.
What to do in an emergency
- Severe bleeding that does not stop
- Serious burns
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Seizures or ‘fits’ that do not stop
- Persistent, severe chest pain
Other emergency situations
- Poisoning, insect stings
- Medicine or drug overdose
- Head injuries due to fall from a height
- Severe dehydration due to gastroenteritis
What to do
- Call the emergency number of the nearest hospital or an ambulance. Describe the nature of the emergency so the paramedics can assist you with first aid tips before they reach you. Always keep the ‘in case of emergency’ number ready in your phone or diary
- Stay calm and don’t move the patient especially if he has had a fall
- Check for alertness. Check pulse to check if the person is breathing
- If the person has had a seizure, don’t lift the person. Just raise the head a little. Don’t feed the person or put something in the mouth. This could choke the patient.
Role of a specialized Emergency Department
The emergency department at a hospital sees multiple cases ranging from breathing problems, kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart attack and so on. A multi-disciplinary emergency team that thinks on its feet is of essence.
“We get patients with multiple complex medical issues. For example, a cardiac patient may have breathing problems due to a lung infection. In such cases, a multidisciplinary unit can attend to each emergency depending on the nature of the case. A patient, who has had a heart attack, will be taken care of in the coronary care unit equipped with state of the art equipment required for ICU care,” informs a Critical Care consultant, Narayana Health City, Bangalore. He also adds that they see a mix of medical emergencies ranging from poisoning, asthma, kidney failure, oxygen deprivation due to pneumonia, and so on, with great frequency.