Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Is it good trying to waken an unconscious person quickly?

Discussion of medical or rescue topics related to climbing and mountaineering.
 

Is it good trying to waken an unconscious person quickly?

Postby Diego Sahagún » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:08 am

I mean to a person who has lost consciousness because of a hard fall, mainly if he/she hasn't external wounds. How fast must be the awakening :?: How should it must be done :?: Methods :?:
User Avatar
Diego Sahagún

 
Posts: 14438
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2001 6:21 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain
Thanked: 714 times in 655 posts

Postby nartreb » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:06 am

If somebody is unconscious due to a hard fall, you have no way of checking whether their neck is broken. Moving them could cause permanent paralysis or death. So don't do something stupid like shake their head around. In fact waking them up is not really on the top of your to-do list anyway. Check that nothing's blocking their mouth, that they're breathing, that they don't have big bleeding wounds or obvioius breaks/dislocations/swelling, and make a plan based on what you find and the particular circumstances of your environment. A decent plan is easier to make if you've taken a first aid course, in which case you'd already know everything I've written so far. Elements of the plan would include: - immobilize the spine or rule out spinal injury ; protect victim (and rest of party) from weather (and dehydration); bring more qualified medical personnel to victim or (usually more difficult) bring victim to medical personnel; monitor the victim's condition.
As to your question, I doubt anyone's done a controlled study to see what works best or if "waking" a victim is really worthwhile. Somebody with a head injury is likely to be groggy and confused for a while even after they wake up, and I'm guessing that leaving them to awaken on their own is the course that provides the shortest time to coherency.
The recommended method to get the attention of an apparently unconscious victim (mostly to make sure they really are unconscious) is to gently poke them in the shoulder (you don't want to cause their head to move). If that doesn't work, try pinching their skin while watching their face to see if they react at all - not to try to wake them up, but because even unconscious people usually react to pain. If they don't, their injury is probably quite serious.
User Avatar
nartreb

 
Posts: 2191
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 10:45 pm
Location: online or in boston, Massachusetts, United States
Thanked: 169 times in 141 posts

Postby norco17 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:04 am

Take a CPR course do what they tell you there. If you do get them awake start looking for symptoms of a concuscion.

In order of importance (remember your ABC's)

Airway
Breathing
Circulation
Neck and spinal cord stabilization

If they don't have an open airway everything is a waste. Breathing and circulation are secondary to the airway. If they do have a spinal cord injury then movement to the bodie can cause permanent paralysis, but if they don't have the ABC's they are dead anyway so those are your priorities.
User Avatar
norco17

 
Posts: 847
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:53 am
Location: riverside, California, United States
Thanked: 200 times in 135 posts

Postby nhluhr » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:42 pm

norco17 wrote:Take a CPR course do what they tell you there. If you do get them awake start looking for symptoms of a concuscion.

In order of importance (remember your ABC's)

Airway
Breathing
Circulation
Neck and spinal cord stabilization

If they don't have an open airway everything is a waste. Breathing and circulation are secondary to the airway. If they do have a spinal cord injury then movement to the bodie can cause permanent paralysis, but if they don't have the ABC's they are dead anyway so those are your priorities.
To echo Norco, always keep in mind the priority of each system on the person's well-being. If the person is not breathing, or has no pulse, stabilizing the neck is not exactly the most important thing to do.

Some programs are teaching "ABCD" for Airway, Breathing, Circulation, and Dire-bleeding. As in, a life-threatening bleed needs to be urgently slowed or the patient will die. You don't have to toss the person's head back and forth to stop heavy bleeding but minor movements are unavoidable. You are at this point fighting for the patient's LIFE.

This is a very popular "7 steps of mountaineering first aid" for when you encounter an injured patient:

1 Take charge of the situation
2 Approach the patient
3 Perform URGENT rescue/first-aid (to include ABCDs and critical evac from imminent danger)
4 Protect the patient
5 Check for other injuries (this is where you will find neck/spine/concussion, along with less obvious or concealed bleeds, breaks, and checking vitals. You will also be interviewing the patient to assess brain function and help narrow down what else may be wrong)
6 Make a plan (include available personnel/supplies, ETA of help, evacuation needs, etc)
7 Carry out the plan
nhluhr

 
Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:44 pm
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Postby jordansahls » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:46 pm

Like nartreb said, don't move them and poke/pinch them first. Often times, unconscious people will reflexively respond to stimuli such as pain or pressure by moaning, moving, or flinching. Its a good sign that their nervous system is still working.
User Avatar
jordansahls

 
Posts: 778
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 2:41 am
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Thanked: 6 times in 4 posts

Postby Dow Williams » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:55 pm

No, that is not a wise thing to do. I knocked my brother out clean once. He just laid there, dead to the world. I ran and hid in one of the massive cattle feeders in the barn. Then I heard him walking down the isle of the barn with a huge lead pipe rattling along the wooden fence threatening to kill me if he found me. It is always best to let them wake up on their own and cool off a bit.
User Avatar
Dow Williams

 
Posts: 2345
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:59 pm
Location: Utah and Canadian Rockies
Thanked: 219 times in 101 posts


Return to Mountain Medicine & Rescue

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2018 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.