City of Devils Lake - Devils Lake North Dakota
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Emergency First Aid
Treating A Medical Emergency

General Rules For Any Medical Emergency

  • First of all, do no harm. Get competent medical assistance, if possible. Do not assume responsibility for a patient if you can get the help of a doctor, nurse, or experienced first-aid worker. If no one better qualified is available, take charge yourself.

  • Look for stoppage of breathing, and for serious bleeding. These are the two most life-threatening conditions you can do something about. They demand immediate treatment (see following section).

  • Don't move the patient immediately. Unless there is real danger of the patient receiving further injury
    where he/she is, he/she should not be moved until breathing is restored, bleeding is stopped and suspected broken bones are splinted.

  • Keep calm and re-assure the patient. Keep him/her lying down and comfortably warm, but do not apply heat to his/her body or make him/her sweat.

  • Never attempt to give liquids to an unconscious person. If he/she is not able to swallow, he/she may choke or drown. Don't give any liquids to an individual who has an abdominal injury.

To Stop Serious Bleeding

  • Apply firm, even pressure to the wound with a dressing, clean cloth, or sanitary napkin. If you don't have any of these, use your bare hand until you can get something better. Loss of one or two quarts of blood will seriously endanger the patient's life.

  • Stopping bleeding from the ears by packing dressing into the ear canal could cause more serious injury.

  • Hold the dressing in place with your hand until you can bandage the wound. In case of an arm or leg wound, make sure the bandage is not so tight as to cut off circulation, and raise the arm or leg above the level of the patient's heart (if the arm or leg appears broken, splint it first).

  • Treat the patient for shock (see next section).

  • If blood soaks through the dressing, do NOT remove the dressing. Apply more dressings.

  • Never use a tourniquet unless you cannot stop excessive, life-threatening bleeding by any other method. If you are forced to use a tourniquet to stop the patient from bleeding to death, follow these instructions:

    • Place the tourniquet as close to the wound as possible, between the wound and the patient's heart.

    • After the tourniquet has been applied, do NOT permit it to be loosened by anyone except a physician who can control the bleeding and replace the blood that the patient has lost. Treating A Medical Injury

    • Get a physician to treat the patient as soon as possible.

Preventing And Treating Shock

Being "in shock" means that a person's circulatory system is NOT working properly, and not enough blood or oxygen is getting to the vital centers of his/her brain and spinal cord.

The symptoms of shock are:

  • The patient's pulse is weak or rapid, or he/she may have no pulse that you can find.

  • His/her skin may be pale, or blue, cold, or moist.Putting Patient Into Ambulance

  • His/her breathing may be shallow or irregular.

  • He/she may have chills.

  • He/she may be thirsty.

  • He/she may get sick to their stomach and vomit.

A person can be "in shock" whether he is conscious or unconscious. All seriously injured persons should be treated for shock, even though they appear normal and alert.

Shock may cause death if not treated properly, even though the injuries which brought on shock might not seem to be serious enough to cause death. In fact, a person may go into shock without having any physical injuries.

Treatment For Shock

  • Keep him/her lying down and keep him/her from getting chilled, but do NOT apply a hot water bottle or other heat to his/her body.

  • Loosen their clothing.

  • Keep his/her head a little lower than his/her legs and hips. But, if he/she has a head or chest injury, or has difficulty breathing, keep their head and shoulders slightly higher than the rest of their body.

  • Do not give them liquids.

Broken Bones

  • Any break in bone is called a fracture. If you think a person may have a fracture, treat is as though it were one. Otherwise, you may cause further injury. For example, if an arm or leg is injured and bleeding, splint it as well as bandage it.

  • With any fracture, first look for bleeding and control it. Keep the patient comfortably warm and quiet, preferably lying down. If you have an ice bag, apply it to the fracture and ease the pain. Do not move the patient (unless his/her life is in danger) without first applying a splint or otherwise immobilizing the fracture site and the joint above and below the fracture site.

  • Treat the patient for shock.


Non-serious or superficial (first degree) burns should not be covered. If first degree burns cover a large area of the body, then the patient should be given fluids to drink (add a teaspoonful of salt and a half-teaspoonful of baking soda to a quart of water and have the patient drink a half-glass every 15 minutes).

The most important things to do about serious (second or third degree) burns are:

  • Treat the patient for shock.

  • Prevent infection.

  • Relieve pain.



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