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What to do in case of a medical emergency ?

Timely medical help during a medical emergency is very important to save a life. Before offering medical help to a patient, one should know how to act in case of medical emergencies. This article speaks about the signs of what to do in case of medical emergency at home, workplace and during travel. Read the article and act accordingly in case of medical emergencies.

What is a medical emergency?

Medical emergencies are a situation that poses threat to a person's health. Medical emergency situation is uncertain and it may occur at home, workplace or during travel. A person or a bystander who is present at the medical emergency situation must be aware of the signs of medical emergencies and should step forward to offer timely help to the victim. Extending help to a victim by doing first aid or reporting an emergency may save a human life.

How to handle a medical emergency situation ?

A person should be well-prepared to face an emergency situation because an emergency situation is totally unpredictable and it usually occurs at an unexpected time and place. For example, if you are walking on the road and suddenly a person who is walking before you faints, and then what would you do? If a member at your family is suddenly suffering from chest pain, then what would you? You cannot simply go away from the place, because human life is precious and we must take the responsibility to save a life at critical situations.

When you witness any warning signs of medical emergency situation, then immediately get ready to handle the situation. Do you want to know how to handle a medical emergency situation? Follow the important steps and tips mentioned below to handle a medical emergency situation.

  • Stay calm : It is common that a tension or nervousness may arise when you look at a serious patient or an accident victim. Emergencies usually require a quick action, so to act proactively one should remain calm and eliminate unwanted stress and confusion. Because staying in an anxious or a perplexed state will not help you to handle the situation effectively. Control your emotions, stay calm for few seconds and assess the situation and surroundings before you act
  • Identify the nature of emergency : It is important to identify the nature of emergency before reacting to a situation because reacting non-rationally without analyzing may lead to confusion or some other health issue. So, first try to check whether it is a medical emergency or some other threat before reacting to an emergency situation. Once you get an idea about the situation, you can proceed wisely and handle the situation

How to identify a medical emergency?

Listed below are some of the serious signs of medical emergency situations.

  • Chest pain
  • Chocking
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Excess bleeding
  • Blood vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness or fainting
  • Swallowing a poisonous substance
  • Murder, Physical assaults, Suicide
  • Spine injury or Head injury
  • Accident[large wounds, severe injuries, burns, drowning, smoke inhalation]
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Change in mental status (confusion, unusual behavior, stress)

All the above mentioned health problems are the warning signs of medical emergency situations and if you witness any such situation, then you must act effectively to save the life.

  • Dial the emergency helpline number for medical assistance : After identifying the nature of emergency and if you are sure that it is a life threatening medical emergency situation, then you should report an emergency immediately to save the victim's life. To report an emergency situation or to seek a medical assistance, you should make a call to the emergency helpline number

Emergency helpline number in India

List of medical emergency helpline numbers in India

Mentioned below are the emergency helpline numbers in India. The number varies from state to state, so dial the emergency number based on your location or simply dial 112 for any emergency help. You can also call the ambulance services from the nearby hospital, if you have the contact number. Call for the emergency services only if the situation is genuinely urgent.

  • India's all in one emergency number- 112
  • Ambulance services helpline-102 (All over India)
  • Emergency Medical helpline(Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Uttarkhand, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli)- 108
  • Ambulance service (New Delhi) - 1066
  • Healthcare (Kolkata) – (033) 24150600
  • Dhanwantary (Kolkata) - 24495594
  • Life care Medical Services (Kolkata) - 24754628
  • The Relief Medical services (Kolkata)-24754169
  • Train accident-1072
  • Traffic Helpline/ Road Accident- 1073
  • Air ambulance-+91 9540161344

How to report a medical emergency ?

Dial the emergency helpline number and report a medical emergency. While reporting a medical emergency, you should give certain details to the emergency dispatcher to take a rapid action. Remember to provide the following details.
  • Mention the exact address or location : Please provide the exact address or location to the dispatcher, so that they can send the emergency services as fast as possible. If you are not sure of the exact address, then at least give the street name or landmark present near your location, to spot the place. Before making a call, make sure you are aware of the exact location and address because inappropriate information may lead to time delay which in turn may worsen the health of the victim.
  • Explain the nature of emergency : Do not panic. Explain the nature of emergency to the dispatcher in a clear manner. Report them whether it is a fire accident or a crime or any medical emergency. If it is an emergency medical situation, then explain the health condition of the victim i.e. the symptoms which you see. Clarify the dispatcher's follow-up questions and follow the instructions they mention.
  • Give your phone number to the dispatcher : Remember to give your phone number to the dispatcher because they may call you to gain further information about the condition of the patient or they may seek help from you to reach the exact location if necessary.
  • Provide first aid treatment : After collecting the basic information, the dispatcher may instruct you to provide some emergency medical treatment to the victim based on the victim's health condition. It usually takes some time for the emergency team to reach the location, so follow the instructions of the dispatcher carefully and provide the necessary treatment or first aid in the meanwhile. For example, if the victim displays the symptoms of heart attack, then the dispatcher will explain you to follow the first aid steps for heart attack. It is always advisable that everyone must know how to provide first aid for basic medical emergencies such as giddiness, sunstroke, accidents caused by electricity and snakebite. Having good knowledge on CPR and other first aid treatment may help you to save a life at critical medical situations
  • Get the basic details about the victim : Most of the time, the victim you witness at an emergency situation would be a stranger. So, check whether the victim has a mobile phone or an identity card with name, age, date of birth and blood group. If the victim holds a mobile phone or identity card, then gather the basic details about him/her. The basic personal information about the victim may help the medical professionals or EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) while providing the medical treatment
  • Inform the victim's family : If the victim has any emergency contacts or the contact number of a family member in his/her contacts list and then inform them about the situation. Do not disappoint or scare them by explaining the situation in a complex way. Inform them to be cool and ask them report to the necessary place to take care of the victim

How to handle a medical emergency at the workplace ?

The workplaces usually have a lot of policies and methods to handle medical emergencies. So, get to know about your workplace policies and try to follow the steps on how to react during medical emergencies at the workplace to avoid unnecessary confusions. Deviation from the company rules and regulations at critical situation may create a lot of problems. Be aware of the policies and act accordingly.

Some of the common steps to handle medical emergency at the workplace are
  1. Call the emergency helpline number or the workplace helpline number to seek for medical help.
  2. Inform the victim's supervisor or manager.
  3. Once medical emergency is reported at the workplace, the workplace authorities will take necessary steps to handle the situation with the help of medical professionals or ambulance services.
  4. Provide basic first aid treatment without violating the company policies.
  5. Assist the medical professionals when they arrive.
  6. Victim's manager or supervisor will get the victim's emergency contact number from his/her personal details file and will notify the victim's family.

Important tips to remember

  • Do not move an injured person because lifting or moving a person who has a neck injury or spine injury may lead to bone dislocation or other complicated problems.
  • Never give water or food to an unconscious person because it may cause asphyxiation and choking.
  • Do not splash water or slap on an unconscious person's face.
  • Move the person who is in danger due to an electric shock using a non-conductive object because directly touching the victim will affect you.
  • Avoid direct contact with the victim's blood by protecting yourself with gloves or cotton because blood borne pathogens present in the victim's blood may cause sickness and disease to you.
  • Do not apply creams or any ointments on burnt area. Also do not try to remove the cloth that is stuck to burns
  • Do not offer food or water to seizure patient until they gain full consciousness.
  • Do not keep a person in warm condition, if he/she has a heatstroke.
  • Do not lean back a patient who is suffering from nose bleeding because leaning back will make the flow of blood to throat and may cause choke. Pressing the bleeding nostril for about 15 minutes with a tissue or a cloth will stop the nose bleed.
  • Do not give first aid treatment if you are not aware of the basic first aid procedures because providing improper first aid treatment may worsen the health condition of the victim and may create threat to a life.

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