Accident Scenes: Do You Always Offer Assistance? - page 7

Had an interesting experience when I took my sister and BIL to Portland International this morning: as I was pulling into the terminal, we saw a woman lying on the ground with several people standing... Read More

  1. by   Chad_KY_SRNA
    My best friend and I both passed a nasty wreck this afternoon in seperate cars. She is finishing her RN this semester and I have high school first responder training. I was so glad to see that EMS unit ahead and the fire engine coming up the fire lane behind us. I have never had a critical patient before. I hope and pray that I am not alone when I do. One of the ER docs was there in his own car getting out to offer help. If I am first on scene I will call for help, get out and see if anyone needs help. I have a tool box first aid kit in the trunk with general stuff. Not gonna put the county ambulance service out of business anytime soon. I am kinda freaked out about it all. I hope that if I am in an accident that someone would please stop, even if it was just to reassure me.
  2. by   CarolineRn
    Quote from LadyBugLass
    As a paramedic and an RN, I feel pretty qualified to answer some questions and give a little advice!!!

    Can you be sued? Sure, anybody can get an attorney and try to sue you...but it is unlikely that anything will come of it. Attorneys look for deep pockets (hospitals, cities, businesses that will likely just settle), not average Joe bystanders. The MOST important thing that you can do to protect yourself and the injured parties AT THAT MOMENT is to work within your scope of practice. Do not attempt an emergency tracheotomy or field amputation!

    Protecting yourself is priority one!! When the ambulance pulls up, we don't need any more patients!
    1. Gloves are important.
    2. When you pull over, be careful!! Use your hazard lights, get off to the side of the road, make your vehicle VERY visible, and BE CAREFUL out in the road...don't get run over!!! Also, please avoid driving through any accident debris or trackmarks; the police need those to investigate the scene and the glass and metal can tear up your car.
    3. Note any hazards to yourself when approaching the scene...is the vehicle stable, gas leaking, etc.( Note: cars very seldomly explode like in the movies, but please don't SMOKE at the scene of a car accident.) If you do get any injuries, please tell the paramedics and get followup care (stitches, tetanus shots, blood exposure treatment)...auto insurance from the person who is a fault might take care of the expenses.
    4. Your presence is very soothing...staying calm and just letting people know that you are a nurse cuts the chaos in half! Try to determine who all the injured parties are and a quick idea of what happened. Gathering everyone who can move into one safe spot is helpful. Maintaining C-spine and an airway in the people who cannot or should not move, controlling bleeds, and keeping everyone calm is the most important thing.
    5. When EMS or the fire dept. arrives, introduce yourself, give a brief report, and leave. If the crew seems rude or brusque or doesn't say thank you, please try not to be offended, we really do appreciate you! We're just trying to process alot of information and prioritize.

    Ultimately, if your conscience says stop, then do so. That's what you have to live with at the end of the day. I have stopped at accident scenes with my kids in the car; I think it is important that they see people helping each other. I do, however, IMMEDIATELY locate the most responsible-looking bystander at the scene and ask them to go keep an eye on my kids ( giving people tasks to do also helps control the mayhem!) I have never had a problem with this.
    Very valuable advice!! Thanks so much for the tips! After all, the most any of us (regardless of degree, experience, or education) can do is quickly triage the situation for ABC's, and wait for the Pro's! (EMS)

    As to the poster who declined to remove a fishing hook-- I'm with you. I would not have done it either. How big was the hook? What if it were lodged in the brachial artery and the second you remove it this guy starts to bleed out or develops a hematoma later-- and what are the chances this guy would bother to go to the ER after you removed the hook and gets a tetanus shot? You were correct not to remove the hook, IMO-- even if the guy never knew your name and there was no risk of a lawsuit had you removed it, you should rest easier knowing that he pretty much *had* to go to a hospital or clinic to get it removed, and received the care that you--off-duty, were simply not equipped to provide.
    Last edit by CarolineRn on Jan 27, '05 : Reason: too long
  3. by   carolbo
    I know it is hard and difficult when off and having a rest to rush to someones assistance

    You have your own private life to lead also

    But Please take a bow from me for your unselfish help to this person

    If it was me lying there I probably woud not have forgotten your face
    or your rush to help me

    She was lucky you are a nurse and had immediate help

    Please

    Take a bow of respect from me

    My brother in South West Africa is a trained paramedic

    I am just about to contact Red Cross to take a similar course

    I wanted for a long time to become a Nurse but many factors stood in my way

    I am busy now with the beginning stages of studying

    And want to do the Paramedics course so I can help another

    I say thank you to you from all you have helped

    And may your hands that help others be blessed

    Carol in Holland

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