Inspect the VictimLook at the victim's wound closely, but keep in mind that scalp injuries aren't necessarily a reliable way to determine the extent of the damage. Small injuries like cuts can appear more serious than they are, while less-visible injuries could be hiding extensive brain damage. There are typically two ways you can tell if the victim has sustained brain damage.
- Visual abnormalities, blurred or doubled eyesight
- Impaired coordination
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Poor balance
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Headache, nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty concentrating or making sense of things
- Irritability or sudden changes in mood
- Loss of interest, apathy
- Displaying inappropriate behaviors or emotions
- Fatigue or sleepiness
- In the case of a concussion, one pupil will be larger than the other
Evaluate the Victim's ConsciousnessIt's critical to analyze the victim's consciousness and and cognitive function. You can do this by following a trick called the AVPU method, which stands for “Alertness, Voice response, Pain and Unresponsiveness”:
- A: Does the victim seem "alert" and able to answer your questions?
- V: Is the victim able to respond to your "voice?"
- P: Are they showing sensitivity to "pain?"
- U: Are they "unresponsive" to any of the above methods?
Stay Calm and FocusedIf the victim is awake, keep asking questions. This lets you determine the level of injury and also helps prevent the victim from losing consciousness. Common questions used for this purpose are:
- What day is today?
- Do you know where you are?
- What is your name?
- How do you feel?
See a DoctorAll head injuries, especially those resulting in loss of consciousness, cognitive impairment or concussion, must be addressed by a doctor as quickly as possible. Even a seemingly insignificant injury can be life-threatening. If the victim doesn't appear to be in serious condition and is able to stand, drive them to the nearest medical center right away.
In an EmergencyIf the victim loses consciousness, does not wake up or exhibits other signs of brain trauma, you're advised to call 911 immediately. Describe the situation and symptoms to the dispatcher as calmly and accurately as possible. This will help emergency personnel know what to expect. Whatever you do, don't move a person who is in this condition. Jostling someone with a brain injury can worsen the damage and potentially result in death. Emergency personnel will provide a neck collar and backboard to support the patient during transport to the emergency room.
Informational Credit to Owl Now Urgent Care
About the Author: Emma is a freelance writer from Boston. Her interests include urban survival training and Urbex. In her free time, she enjoys baking, film noir, and indoor rock climbing.