Lack of first aid skills should not cost us any more lives, teach all

Thursday January 24 2019

By JANE HUGHES

There is a lot to be desired in terms of emergency care in the country, going by a Nation article by Vera Okeyo.

It highlights the gaps witnessed in our society and suggests that the government comes up with ways or plans to empower people, including the general community, to enable them to provide proper first aid when needed.

Indeed, whenever a road accident occurs, onlookers rush to pull out the casualties from the wreckage, causing more trauma than they give help.

Their intentions are good but they have no idea how to provide First Aid; hence, the patient ends up dying or disabled.

The importance of learning this is paramount. It should be made compulsory in schools so that children are aware of what to do in case of emergencies.

Some institutions should be encouraged to teach first aid to the general populace and corporate bodies.

RULES

The acronym DRSABCD is very simple to use and yet saves many lives. The “D” stands for danger to you, other bystanders then to the injured person.

“R” is for response, whether the casualty is responding. Ask them to touch and squeeze your hands; if no response, know they are unconscious. “S” means “send for help”.

“A” is for airway. If the patient is responding, then the airway is good; if not, open their mouth to check for foreign bodies. If nothing, tilt their head gently on the back by lifting their jaw and look for signs of breathing.

“B” is for breathing. Look for the rise and fall of the chest; listen by putting your ear to their nose and feel air coming through.

Again, if not breathing, the airway is compromised; commence CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). If breathing but unconscious, put them in recovery position and ensure the airway is clear.

LESSONS

“C” is for compression — 30 compressions and two breaths. Due to communicable diseases, such as herpes, one is not obliged to do the breaths unless they have a protective device for the mouth or it is a close family member and one is willing to take the risk.

“D” is for defibrillator, to shock the patient with electric shock if unconscious. If a defibrillator is not available, continue with CPR until expert help arrives.

In Australia, most companies have a defibrillator within their premises, though it’s not yet compulsory.

Students are taught how to do first aid and, surprisingly, even little children aged six years or so have saved their parents’ lives as the latter teach them how to call the emergency number.

CARE

They listen to the personnel on the phone, who explains to them what to do until an ambulance arrives.

Nurses, doctors and allied health workers must have CPR accreditation every year to continue with their practice, even when you have been in the industry for a long time.

We need to start learning the basics to save more lives. No life should be lost for lack of first aid.

Jane Njuhi Hughes, Australia.