Friday, December 09, 2005

Don't move them!

I was just nodding off in the car at my standby point when the MDT rang with a job.

A woman had fallen and had a head injury. The possibilities crossed my mind as I drove to the address given - could be drunk, dizzy, could even be an accident. It was the latter.

I arrived to find the patient laying under the covers on a double bed. A bit confused, I asked what had happened. Her husband brought me up to speed. "She tripped over that," he said pointing to a weight bench in the corner of the room, "and fell banging her head on the bed frame." The bed frame was made of solid wood.

"How did she get into bed?"

"I picked her up and put her there."

I turned to the patient. "Do you have any pain anywhere?"

"Yes, my neck and back hurt and I've got a headache."

"Do you have any tingling anywhere?"

"Yes, in my left arm and my left leg."

Now there is a reason why people are always told not to move people. It's the one useful thing about programmes such as Casualty - I've turned up at calls before to be told "I haven't moved them because I saw on tv that you shouldn't." There is a very good reason for this. If someone has sustained an injury to their spinal column, horrendous damage could be done to the spinal cord if handled incorrectly leading to paralysis and even death depending on which part of the cord is damaged. And damaged nervous tissue will not get better.

I quickly assessed and compared the sensation in all limbs - when I touched her left leg, the patient said it felt different to when I touched the right leg, but the arms felt the same.

The crew arrived, and we carefully placed her on a "scoop" stretcher. It's called a scoop, because it splits lengthways so each side can be eased under the patient without moving them or with very minimal movement, and clipped back together. We strapped her to the scoop, and then the three of us carefully took her out of the bedroom, and carried her down the stairs and placed her on the ambulance trolleybed that had been brought in and left at the bottom of the stairs.

We then loaded her onto the ambulance, and after doing a few things like blood pressure etc, she was carted off to the hospital. Unfortunately one of the things about working on the car is that you don't get to hear what happened to the patient. Hopefully there wasn't any spinal damage and she'll make a full recovery.

But the moral of the story is, if someone falls and hits their head, don't move them!


Post a Comment

<< Home