Head & Spine Injuries – Part 2 “Moving a Person”
As mentioned in the previous post, Head and Spine injuries are very common and can be fatal, those who also survive injuries from Head or Spinal injuries can have physical difficulties and problems from either brain or spine damage. But what happens if the person is in a dangerous location? Their laying face down in a puddle? or their airway could be obstructed? These scenarios can make the Head / Neck & Spine injury seem even worse. “Should I move them? Will I cause more damage to them? Will I paralyze them if I move them?” These questions will also weigh heavy on the situation that you find. You may “Not” have to move a person to assess their breathing, but “Life over Limb” has always been the motto to keep in mind during these dangerous scenarios. If the person dies from lack of breathing or other emergencies, then the spine was the least of their worries. One little rhyme you can remember is “Always Keep The Head / Neck & Spine, In A Strait Line, Hoping It’s All Fine” never try to move a person with Head or Spine injuries unless their life could be threatened.
Common Reason’s to move a Person
“You should always suspect a Head / Neck & Spine injury if the person has been subjected to an Impact / Speed or an Energy Forced against the body with motion, or if you find a unconscious victim from an unknown reason”
- – Motor vehicle collisions on a busy highway
- – Fire
- – Wild animals
- – Toxic gas or chemicals
“Always Keep The Head / Neck & Spine, In A Strait Line, Hoping It’s All Fine” never try to move a person with Head or Spine injuries unless their life could be threatened.
How to help with Head & Spine Injuries:
1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation” REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids.
2) Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk.
3) Care for the Head / Neck & Spine Injury by:
Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. ” Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person“
- – If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person torso.
- – Make sure you move the Head / Neck or Spine as little as possible, even slight movement may cause further injuries.
- -Place your hands on both sides of the injured person’s head. Gently support the person’s head in the position in which you find it until EMS personnel arrive.
- – If the injured person is wearing a helmet, leave it on unless it makes it difficult for you to ensure the ABC’s “Airway, Breathing, Circulation” are present.
- -If the person is laying face down in water / mud or if their airway could be compromised due to their position or injuries, roll the person using the H.A.IN.E.S technique or with multiple partners use the “H.A.IN.E.S Log Roll“, insuring that you keep the head / neck & spine in a the position you find them even as you roll them. Never “straighten” an injured victim suspected of Head / Neck or Spine injuries.
- -Continue care until further help arrives.
If the person vomits, carefully roll them onto one side to keep the airway clear.
“How to Roll A Person with a Head / Neck or Spine Injury”
To “Log Roll” a person using the previously known as “H.A.IN.E.S Technique” is the best option using multiple First Aid respondents, the more people you have helping the easier it will be to keep a person’s Head / Neck & Spine in the position you found it. “NEVER” Straighten a person’s Head / Neck or Spine if they are bent in an awkward position, only straighten or move the person if their airway could be compromised or their life as a whole is in danger. To perform a log roll on a person you must first learn how to roll someone by yourself, this will make the “Log Roll” easier to accomplish once there are multiple people aiding the casualty.
H.A.IN.E.S – Stands For
- High – Arm – In – Endangered – Spine
The H.A.IN.E.S technique is designed to keep the head, neck and spine in a relatively strait line as you roll the person over avoiding further damage or spinal injuries. As we may not know what caused the person’s injuries or emergency once the person is face down remember its often difficult to breath face down on the ground, rolling them over secures the airway and makes it possible to perform CPR or other life saving techniques.
To Roll a Person Over using the “H.A.IN.E.S Technique” :
1) Kneel Beside the victim and place the victims furthest arm from you above their head.”High – Arm” In Endangered Spine.
2) Place the arm closest to you against the victims side.
3) Cross the legs using the leg that is closest to you to overlap hooking the ankles.
4) Place a hand under the victim’s jaw using your thumb and index finger to grip the jaw firmly letting your last three fingers rest against the side of the neck. Slip your forearm under the victims shoulder to act as a lever.
5) Grip the victims belt by the hip with your remaining hand, if the victim is not wearing a belt grip the pant material firmly
6) In unison with both arms “Roll the victim slowly away from you keeping the Head, neck and spine in line. As you roll the victim notice that the head should be resting on the “High-Arm“. Once the victim is on their hip their own body weight should carry them over onto their back “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” Make sure to guide the head neck and spine down gently to the ground keeping them in line to avoid potential spinal injuries.
- -Check the Airway to make sure the person is still breathing. If they are not breathing “Start CPR” 30 Compression’s, 2 breaths for all age groups.
We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.
“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!