A medic's first aid advice part 1: Fractures
We’re second to none at dealing with the aftermath of an accident at work. We help injured employees pursue compensation for things like injuries, loss of earnings and medical treatment, however, unfortunately we’re not much use at the precise moment the accident occurred. That’s why we invited TransMed Services Ltd to advise on dealing with some of the more common injuries resulting from accidents at work in a four part guest blog series.
Part 1 - Fractures
My name is Andrew Moore and I’m the Clinical Lead of a local independent ambulance service, but first and foremost I’m a Paramedic. We often provide first-aid training to businesses that require or wish to have a dedicated first-aider on the team and there is noticeable patterns in the types of injuries sustained in a place of work. In this series of guest blog posts for Paschal O’Hare Solicitors, we’re going to share some of the more common injuries and how they should be dealt with immediately at the scene. Starting with:
Fractures usually occur in work following a fall or by being hit by an object, either moving or stationary. There are five common signs that the bone is broken:
- A snapping sound
- Sickness or dizziness from the shock.
If a break is suspected it should be dealt with as soon as possible but the timescale for a fracture depends on its type and the overall condition of the patient. If it’s a finger or toe then go to a minor injury unit. For an arm you will need A&E but an ambulance is usually not required. However, if the patient has an injury to their leg, which is suspected to be a break, then you should call 999 for an ambulance. The same applies for a fracture around the skull, neck or spine. It’s important not to let the patient eat or drink anything as they may need a general anaesthetic to allow doctors to realign it. You should never move a seriously injured person unless they are in immediate danger.
If a competent and preferably qualified first-aider is on the scene then there are a few things they can do immediately.
- If a broken back or neck is suspected, help the injured person stay as still as possible and call 999 immediately. Only move the person, as carefully as possible, if they are in immediate danger.
- If it’s a limb, it can be immobilized using a sling for the arm or splint for the leg.
- If the injured person is bleeding, this can be a sign of an open fracture. If no bone is visible, apply pressure to the wound using a bandage, or failing this, a clean cloth or piece of clothing. If they show signs of shock such as dizziness, lay them on their back and then elevate the leg that IS NOT fractured.
- Apply an ice pack or frozen bag of food wrapped in a towel to the injured area.
- Take the patient to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital, or dial 999 if the fracture affects their leg, neck or head, or the patient is in severe pain.
Hopefully, by following this advice your injured colleague will have the best possible start on the road to recovery.
Thanks for reading part one of our four-part guest blog. The next topic TransMed will be covering is cuts / lacerations.
This is part one in a series of guest blog posts.
Part 2. Cuts / lacerations by Dean Hamilton
Part 3. Strains & Sprains by Blair Elliot
Part 4. Choking by James McMahon
Andrew is the Clinical Lead of Transmed Services Limited and a professional paramedic of 12 years. He is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The content produced by him does not constitute as recognised first-aid training or medical advice and it should be viewed as informational only.