By Shikema Dey
Over the past few weeks, there has been an increase in serious accidents and road fatalities all across Guyana. With this increase, comes a worrying occurrence; where public spirited persons, and even police officers with the aim of rendering assistance to the injured, remove them from the wreckage or the accident scene.
Several videos and pictures have circulated on social media from a recent accident. One showed a civilian dragging a bloodied and injured female into the back of a pickup truck. The other shows an injured man in the back of a police pick-up crying out in pain.
The problem with this however, is that, it should never be done until the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrive on the scene. In fact, sometimes more harm than good is done to the victims by moving them.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Lauron McIntosh told Kaieteur News that EMS should be the first phone call made in the event of an accident. According to him, only medically-trained persons should attend to the injured victims to prevent secondary damage being done.
The EMT relayed that when they arrive on a scene, they immediately rush to secure the victim’s ‘C Spine’, that is the cervical spine, an undertaking only someone with special medical training can do.
“If someone has neck pain after a significant injury, you should always suspect a cervical spine injury. Persons should try not to move victims, as the bones of the neck could be shifted or damaged if the neck is twisted or compressed causing more damage.”
In instances where persons are trapped inside the wreckage, although it might be tempting, the injured persons have to remain still until an ambulance arrives on the scene.
“Now if you go moving somebody and you’re not aware of any other injury they might have – for example, internal bleeding or broken ribs, any injuries that you cannot see – leave the person until EMS comes. You can possibly paralyze the person or even worse, it can be fatal, because certain vital organs can be damaged.”
McIntosh pinpointed incidents where police officers arrive on the scene before them and hastily remove the victims to rush them to the nearest medical facility. But according to him, officers should know better, since some have received first aid training.
“Most times they would just throw them in the back of their vehicle, instead of waiting on us, but they do not know what’s happening to that person. And most of the officers have first aid training, but then again, you cannot guarantee that they will remember what they were taught.”
Further, he stressed that every citizen should invest in first aid if they wish to render assistance to injured persons to ensure the survival and well being of the injured persons.
“When something happens, people get all frantic and excited and rush to pull and move persons, but once the vehicle is not posing an imminent threat – like it’s about to explode or is on fire – then you should just wait until we get on scene.”
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