A Brief Guide on Medical Emergency Preparedness

On a plane, a flight attendant instructs us with certain safety protocols just before take-off. We’re asked to fasten our seatbelts, wear our masks and keep our seats upright. While as a passenger this may seem absolutely pointless to you, safety mid-air is an important issue.

Similarly, in our daily lives too, preparing for an emergency situation is critical. Since you can’t anticipate when an accident or medical emergency may occur, the least you can do is stay prepared. When calamity strikes, the whole situation is so overwhelming that one often doesn’t know how to react. Thus, planning can go a long way in minimising risks and preventing adverse outcomes.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed every aspect of our lives, the need to stay alert and prepared has increased. Chest pain, breathing difficulty, uncontrollable bleeding, heart attacks, seizures and dizziness are medical emergencies that can occur at any given point of time. Studies suggest that all too often, people are hesitant to get involved in a potential emergency. Not because they don’t want to help but instead, they’re afraid to do so and are vary of the repercussions.

Let’s accept it – medical emergencies can happen anywhere. Be it at home, city street, event, grocery store or workplace, no place is immune to emergencies.

Before we move on to elaborate on how to plan and prepare for a medical emergency, let’s understand what the term means.

What is a Medical Emergency?

When a person is faced with an acute illness or sudden injury that poses an immediate risk to his/her life or long-term health, it is referred to as a medical emergency. The conditions occur without a warning and require SOS services of an emergency department of a hospital or healthcare institution. Not seeking appropriate care and treatment can endanger the life of an individual.

The following conditions qualify as medical emergencies that require immediate attention:

  • Chest pain accompanied by shortness of breath and nausea
  • Choking
  • Fainting/dizziness
  • Seizure
  • Third-degree burns
  • Poisoning or drugs overdose
  • Excessive and uncontrollable bleeding
  • Heart attacks
  • Accidents/sprains
  • Severe diarrhoea
  • Pregnancy-related complications

Medical Emergency Preparedness Plan: What you can do?

Medical emergencies often catch us unawares. Watching a loved one suddenly meet with an accident or suffer stroke can leave one feeling heavily disoriented. You’re often left in a dilemma whether to attend to the patient or search the phone directory for emergency numbers. Knowing how to act in a medical emergency can save a life. The best way to tackle this is by developing an emergency response plan. While creating a plan for every potential scenario may seem unrealistic, you can always focus on certain medical events and traumatic events which are most likely to occur.

When creating a plan, consider the following:

  • Goals

The first prerequisite of every emergency plan is understanding what is expected of you. As a caretaker of a patient whose condition is deteriorating, you should be able to provide stabilising care so that his/her condition does not worsen. Next, based on the condition of the patient, you will need to transfer the him/her to professional emergency care as soon as possible.

  • Transportation Time

When you’re preparing a plan and strategy for medical emergencies, transportation time is crucial. The time taken will determine the life and death of an individual.

  • App streamlining Emergency Response

In the eye of the storm, the first step most people faced with an emergency do is call an ambulance emergency number. On connecting with the operator, you will have to firstly make it clear whether you’re calling for yourself or on behalf of somebody, provide your exact location and exact details. Simply telling the operator you need help at a particular location can sound a tad bit too vague. Doing this can be time-consuming too.

Getting an emergency response team to your rescue is something that should be quick and seamless. Relying on a safety app is the best way to go about it.

According to a medical analysis study in the US, most deaths and clinical errors are linked to communication failures. In emergency situations, there should be literally no room for error and they must be minimised as much as possible.

In one such case, a medical office staff received a call from a diabetic patient who wished to connect with his primary care provider. However, the patient’s message never reached the doctor and the former collapsed, and died from diabetic ketoacidosis owing to lack of insulin in the body.

Miscommunication between medical staff is the worst thing that can happen during a medical emergency. They usually occur due to heavy workloads, constant interruptions and cumbersome electronic health records.

A personal safety app with an inbuilt emergency response system is the solution to deal with medical emergencies on time and save the lives of your loved ones. As soon as the emergency panic button has been activated, emergency response teams are alerted and a private/government ambulance will reach the particular location within few minutes. This not just gives paramedics a chance to stay alert on the arrival of the patient but also enables them to prepare beforehand.

Since medical emergency apps are incorporated with GPS, they provide the department with the exact location and chances of getting lost looking for the house/office are minimised, and the patient can be attended to immediately.

  • Basic First-aid Knowledge

If you’re someone living with a senior citizen or an individual with a certain condition such as a kidney ailment or severe diabetes issue, knowing basic first-aid will always come handy. Some problems such as choking or a snake bite can get resolved right away using certain methods. First-aid methods always provide relief as you wait for the ambulance to arrive. Basic knowledge always prevents a situation from getting worse. However, always remember that first-aid is not a one-size-fits-all deal. Don’t wait to rush a loved one to a hospital no matter how intimidating it may seem.

Remember, early intervention can save a person’s life while delays can kill. Also, under no circumstances should you attempt to drive a patient to a hospital if his/her condition is serious. Transporting an ailing patient without medical support adds unnecessary risk. Once you know that an emergency services ambulance is on the way, keep the patient’s medical information handy.

  • Retrieving Medical Data

As part of your medical emergency preparedness plan, have a kit ready at all times. Preparedness begins by having everything at hand. While a first-aid kit is a prerequisite, having an up-to-date file of a person with a certain medical history is essential. Make sure doctor’s reports, past medical conditions, allergy information, medication and prescriptions are organised in a single folder. You can also convert it into a soft copy and store it on your mobile as a PDF. This saves time when emergency hits. Carrying the data along with you gives doctors and paramedics a chance to quickly assess and act according to the situation.

  • Emergency Contacts List

We cannot stress enough on the importance of having an emergency contacts list. The list should include emergency numbers of the patient’s doctor, loved ones, spouse, friend or family members. It is always better to hard and soft copy of the same. On the way to the hospital, notify other family members of what has happened. In some cases, if you cannot move the patient alone, always seek help from anyone around you. You can even inform the hospital that you will need trained staff to handle the situation.

  • Check the House

Once you’ve hit the panic button on the safety app, you can be rest assured that appropriate help is on the way. While attending to the ailing patient during this time is important, there are few things you need to check at home before you leave especially if there are no other family members present.

Check if the gas stove is off, electrical appliances are not running, doors and windows are closed and main door is locked with a key. These are things that would take typically less than a minute to do. If you fail to check the above areas, you may be calling upon yourself another emergency and you wouldn’t want that. Also, if you have few minutes to spare, quickly make a bag ready with a water bottle, mobile charger, cash, credit/debit cards, health insurance, a few biscuits and anything else you feel you’ll require on the way to the hospital. Having a list prepared earlier always helps.

Medical emergency can strike at any time. However, the probability only increases with age. Having an emergency preparedness plan goes a long way in ensuring the life of your loved ones is saved on time.

When it comes to tackling a medical emergency, Omnipolis has you covered. Hit the emergency button on the app and have an ambulance outside your doorstep or accident location in less than fifteen minutes. We have in our network over 500 ambulances in Hyderabad and plan to expand steadily in other cities as well.

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