Who could forget the sad story of actress Natasha Richardson who passed away at the age of 45 after a skiing accident? Natasha Richardson was with her husband, fellow actor Liam Neeson, and their two kids when the family decided to take beginner skiing lesson in a resort in Canada. Richardson sustained a head injury and was quick to dismiss any medical help citing she felt fine and was even able to speak well. After twice refusing medical attention, she went to her hotel room. Several hours after the incident, Richardson complained of a headache and was brought to the hospital but it was too late for the actress. She passed away a day after the accident. Autopsy showed that the official cause of death was epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head, or blood buildup between the dura matter and the skull.
Although this is classified as a closed head injury with no visible signs of head or facial injury, it is always important to seek medical attention after obtaining a serious head injury, even if the person seems fine. It is just a necessary precaution to ensure the safety of a person. For minor closed head injuries, such as concussions, the key is to apply something cold. Ask the person to rest and cold compress should be applied to the injury to reduce swelling. Frozen vegetables and the like wrapped in tea towels would suffice. If there is vomiting or drowsiness, immediately call for an ambulance.
In cases of open head injuries, characterized by presence of bleeding wounds in the face or head, it is necessary to call for emergency response. If the injured person is conscious, discourage the person from moving their head and/ or their neck. Keep the person still until emergency medical help arrives. Furthermore, if the injured person is wearing a helmet, do not remove helmet. Apply direct pressure and dressing on any scalp injuries to try and control substantial blood loss from the injured person. Avoid the forming blood clots in the hair. Granting there is a suspected fracture in the skull, direct pressure should not be applied in order to not worsen the fracture. Comfort the injured person and keep them calm as much as possible. Remember that you can also have your stand alone CPR course if you wish to have it as your training course.
On the other hand, when the injured person is unconscious, avoid moving the person unless they are in immediate danger which may result to serious complications to the head, spine and other supplementary injuries. It is commonly observed that the head injury is accompanied by a neck injury. After ensuring that the injured person is far from immediate danger, the airway and breathing should be checked. If breathing is weakened due to obstructed airway, gently tilt the injured person’s head back and support it until normal breathing is returned. Commence CPR if breathing does not return or when no pulse is detected.
Related Video: Everyday First Aid: Head injury from the British St Mark James[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqDdLUi7kkA” width=”600″ height=”400″]
In cases of emergencies such as these, it is better to have first aid certification as the wrong treatments may exacerbate the condition of the injured person. First aid training teaches the lay people how to handle emergencies not just with regard to injuries but other medical scenarios as well. Furthermore, first aid and CPR courses teach the lay people how to give proper CPR in different situations.