If you are at the site of a road accident, you can help the victim even before the ambulance arrives.
Just keep the ‘ABC’ in mind – clear the airway, restore breathing and restore proper circulation by stopping bleeding.
“But, before starting the ABC, the person must check whether the victim has suffered any neck or spine injury. If there is any evidence of such injury, the patient must not be moved at all,” said Dr Yatin Mehta, chairman, institute of critical care & anaesthesiology, Medanta-The Medicity.
Next, bleeding needs to be controlled using pressure. “If there is no pulse, the person can be given a CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), if the bystander is trained in it,” Dr Mehta said.
The bystander must ensure the victim is taken to the nearby hospital, as early as possible, within the first hour of the accident - called the ‘Golden Hour’, when chances of saving a life are maximum.
“Every year at trauma centre, we operate around 900 – 1,000 spine surgeries and 1,500 head injury cases, 70% of these are road traffic accident victims,” said Dr Sumit Sinha, associate professor, department of neurosurgery at Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS.
But if the ambulance takes too long to respond, the bystander can take the victim to the hospital after following some precautions.
“The most important thing to ensure is that there is no movement in the head or spine, because if the injured spine is moved, it might result in permanent paralysis,” said Dr Sinha. A belt may be used to tie the head in place.
According to a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report, Delhi has the highest number of fatal road accidents in India, with an average of five people losing their lives daily. Of the total 1,41,526 road accident which happened in India in 2014, 8310 were in Delhi, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data.