Thursday, 6 February 2014

1st Survival Summer Course - Medical Emergencies - Breathing problems

All right, so imagine you're out there in the wild, not London, that's too tacky for you; think of a place where you lose yourself for days. You're surrounded by wild animals and feeling exhausted for walking miles without seeing a way out. Suddenly, you and your mate look ahead and a gay bear is in musth and cannot wait a second anymore. It invests against the two of you violently striking your mate down after a violent chest hit. You realize he has sustained an injury. "Ohhh, that's bad", you say to yourself, only to verify that he's going weaker and weaker with severe bleeding. In the meanwhile you start panicking and find yourself in shock. It's when you look around and see yourself alone in an immense flood of wild noises, rotten berries, a gay bear and dark green leaves that camouflage the thousand dangers you are to face. Scenario set, what would you do to correct your equilibrium once again?

Aforementioned Gay Bear 

Let's start with the breathing problems since your mate might as well be raped by this horny bear if you do not help him straightaway. To start with, stop panicking, it's not going to help you in anyway. I remember a day when my wife (by then my girlfriend) decided that she needn't my help to reach that set of blankets high up on the closet and after falling she hit her chest against the bedside table. In less than two seconds she turned from golden-tan to sick purple as her residual air was expelled from the lungs when hitting the furniture. One of my mates, startled by the fusion of noise, color change and my girl's incapacity to breath by herself; started panicking and caused more upset than the issue I already had in hands. My immediate idea was to tell her to go fetch some water, to just remove her from the scene so I could assess the magnitude of whatever was going on without having the third party causing even more entropy. After that initial assessment I proceeded the way I was taught.

1) Check if the victim has a partial or complete airway obstruction. If he/she can cough or speak, allow him/her to clear the obstruction in a normal natural way. Just hold hands and reassure the individual that you are there and nothing bad is going to happen. If the scenario seems a lot more serious then be prepared to clear the airway yourself and proceed with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (only if the individual is unconscious). With a completely obstructed airway you will have to give him/her abdominal thrusts until you clear the obstruction.

2) With your finger sweep through the subject's mouth and clear of any alien objects, broken teeth, soil particles, etc.

3) Apply the jaw thrust method, i.e., grasp the hand's of the person's lower jaw and lift with both hands, one on each side, moving the jaw forward. Rest you elbows on the same surface the person is lying on if you need stability. Proceed with opening the person's lips if they're closed by gently opening the lower lip with your thumb (see image below).

4) Once the airway is open, pinch the person's nose close with your thumb and forefinger and blow two complete breaths into his/her lungs. Mind that you need to allow the lungs to deflate after the second inflation; only them you can:

- "look for his/her chest to rise and fall,
- listen for escaping air during exhalation,
- feel for flow of air on your cheek."

5) If this forced stimulation hasn't worked then you'll have to proceed to maintain the person's breathing by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

6) People can vomit during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, especially people who suffered drowning, so check the passages for vomit and clear it periodically.

7) Do never ever forget about your Red Cross Manual, ever again.

Now, that crazy bear from before is now pants down moving towards you once again... but that's only next week.

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