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DNA India
28 July 2010
By Soumita Majumdar

On an average 1,14,000 road traffic accidents occur in India every year. Last year, Bangalore alone saw 850 accidents. Most times, victims suffer complications only because of the way he/she was handled on the road and taken to the hospital. In conversation with DNA ,Dr HK Venkatesh, chief of Anaesthesiology, Neuroanaesthesia and Critical care, BGS Global Hospitals offers some tips on how to manage accident victims .

What are some of the most common causes of death following accident trauma?
Vehicular accidents in India are on the rise. There has been an increase in fatalities by more than 50% over the last decade. The major cause of death following accidents is due to blood loss. More than 50% of victims who die within the first 24-48 hours are due to uncontrolled bleeding.

Another important cause is lack of oxygen (hypoxia) due to inadequate breathing and severe head injury.

Can you please list some points people should keep in mind while helping a trauma victim?
Move the victim to a safe place and place him on a flat surface. Most times, the victim will be in a state of shock following the accident, and usually responds to a call. If he responds to your call, look for any major injuries or any bleeding. Apply pressure to the source of bleeding, if you find any. This will ensure the victim doesn’t lose too much blood.

If you find the victim fully conscious and he/she has recovered from the shock, (is able to tell his/her name), enquire if he/she feels pain in any area and restrict movement of that part. If the victim has sustained any major bone fracture, do not move that limb, as this may cause bleeding or worsen the injury.

What is the first thing that needs to be done to help an accident victim?
Firstly, control the mob. Take care of his belongings and look for any identification card for emergency contact number.
What are the various dos and don’ts while attending to an unconscious victim?
If the victim is unconscious (not responding to your call), check to see he/she is breathing. If the victim is breathing, wait for help to arrive and transfer him to the nearest hospital for further care. Do not give water to stimulate or wake him, as there are chances you will choke him to death. Do not shake his head to awaken him or to check his response (this may worsen the spinal cord injury, if he has sustained one)

How should the victim be transferred to the hospital and why?
Always support the head and neck during transfer or while moving the victim onto the ambulance or any vehicle. Coordinate with other helpers and move the victim carefully, supporting him well and place him on the hard board (if available) prior to transfer. This will ensure that the victim doesn’t suffer any further injury during transport. Continue to apply pressure to the bleeding site till the victim reaches the hospital.

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