Emergency care procedures refer to methods used to help individuals suffering from injuries or conditions posing an immediate threat to survival. These actions are performed in an effort to re-establish stability to the system so that an underlying cause can be determined and treated. Always a top level priority, maintaining efficient oxygenation is important and, when something interferes with this process, intubation is frequently needed. Initiating venous access via intravenous catheters permit successful administration of essential drugs and fluids. Certain situations mandate that emergency care procedures be carried out by lay persons in the case that medical attention is unavailable, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and applying pressure to stop bleeding.
Endotracheal intubation refers to the insertion of a tube by way of the trachea for the purpose of providing ventilation artificially. The tube is then connected to a mechanical ventilator, a machine capable of breathing for the patient who may have sustained an injury to the lungs, is experiencing low blood pressure, or is not breathing due to a drug overdose. Respiratory failure is a life-threatening condition that could rapidly result in death, if the airway is not opened.
Acquiring a quick means of entry to the circulatory system of an individual is very important in situations of critical urgency, making placement of an intravenous line (IV) necessary. Allowing for rapid administration of fluids and pharmaceuticals, IVs provide a way of performing blood draws for laboratory tests necessary for diagnostic purposes. IVs are inserted peripherally through a vein in the arm, leaving a catheter in place which maintains an open line. Catheters with a gauge of 14 or 16 are most useful for emergency care procedures as they permit delivery of more fluid and drugs at faster rates due to their larger-sized cannulas.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is one of many emergency care procedures that can be performed by public citizens and healthcare professionals alike. It employs the use of the hands to deliver measured chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing in situations where cardiac arrest or respiratory failure is suspected. CPR can be given to people of any age by those who have been properly trained in its delivery.
Sometimes an injury is so severe that it causes a type of bleeding which leads to shock, a serious condition occurring due to loss of fluids. Applying pressure to a bleeding wound can help the blood to clot, stopping hemorrhage until medical attention is obtained. Using a clean towel or bandage, pressure is placed directly over the place of hemorrhage for approximately 20-30 minutes. Any noticeable loose dirt on the open wound is quickly removed beforehand.