What do you think you would do if...

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Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 17698
edited February 12 in Off Topic
...you’re walking along the road and come across an old man laying in the recovery position, apparently unconscious, with three people crouched around him.  They are calling his name in an attempt to rouse him but are getting no response.  One of them then says “It’s ok - he’s breathing”.  There are lots of people around in the street.  What would you would do - if anything, in this scenario?

Be honest.
Everybody was kung-flu fighting...
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  • TenebrousTenebrous Frets: 923
    Walk away. I've no medical knowledge to help him more than those currently attending to him, I'd presume an ambulance has been called, and I'd want to get out of the way of any potential support coming.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 16744
    1 - Make sure at least one of them's sober
    2 - Ask if they need any help
    3 - Ask if any of them have any medical training, and how long the ambulance will be
    4 - Depending on the time of day and location, see if I can get the various bystanders to try to locate a doctor/nurse/paramedic in a nearby shop/pub/doctor's surgery/etc. It's better than standing around gawping.

    Obviously, some of these things depend on the others.
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  • I’d do a Dionne Warwick 
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  • vizviz Frets: 6147
    edited February 12
    I’d do a Dionne Warwick 

    “Let me go to him”?
    Change your search engine from google to www.ecosia.org - they plant trees when you search. Honestly, it's awesome.
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  • springheadspringhead Frets: 637
    I’d do a Dionne Warwick 
    Ask if one of them knows the way to Santa Fe?
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  • WazmeisterWazmeister Frets: 5481
    Help. Naturally.
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 9475
    Happened to me a few years back.   I stayed long enough to assure myself someone already had the situation under control, then went on my merry way.
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  • I'd check that help had been called for, and let them get on with it.
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  • thumpingrugthumpingrug Frets: 1761
    I'd check that help had been called for, and let them get on with it.
    This

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  • Tenebrous said:
    Walk away. I've no medical knowledge to help him more than those currently attending to him, I'd presume an ambulance has been called, and I'd want to get out of the way of any potential support coming.
    This.

    I have been ‘first on scene’ finding an old man slumped by the side of the road and did my best to check that he was okay and if he wanted help/ ambulance which he said he didn’t. No one else came over to us to offer help and I would have liked some reassurance. When there’s already two or three people there already I don’t know what I’d have to offer.
    I have also had a fall and been lying prostrate on the pavement. I don’t think there were any pedestrians passing by whilst I was down there but there were definitely cars and no one stopped to check. 
    Sleep. That’s where I’m a Viking. 
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 726
    I think that there have been studies published about this (there was something on Radio 4).

    If you are on your own and encounter someone is distress you are far more likely to help than if there is a crowd.  Human nature is such that we assume that somebody else has got it covered.

    I can't remember the exact mechanisms at play.  Maybe that we assume that somebody else is better qualified but I think it may have also been to do with us copying others.  If everybody is standing back we have a tendancy to do the same?
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  • I'd at least ask if they were okay and if the needed any help.

    A work colleague recently came across a similar scenario except the casualty wasn't breathing. There was already someone there, but because there was a (thankfully short) delay waiting for an ambulance to arrive, he had to take over chest compressions because the other guy was knackered.

    You don't need to now much to be able to help. Everyone should learn some basic life saving skills because you never know when something might happen or who it's going to happen to.

    I've got more ashes than Wednesday, you know I can brew my tea
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  • cj73cj73 Frets: 849
    Not my response but surely the done thing nowadays is to whip out your phone and video it 
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  • MusicwolfMusicwolf Frets: 726
    I once saw a motor cyclist drop his bike, slide headlong into a car coming the other way, and then slide down the road.  I was first to react but, as I ran towards him, I thought 'if he is still alive, I've absolutely no idea what to do'.  Fortunately he was alive (it eventually turned out that all he had suffered was gravel rash and a broken coxis) but all I could do was talk to him, keep him still and make sure taht nobody tried to remove his helmet.  A passing ambulance driver (not a paramedic) arrived before the emergency ambulance.

    Despite good intentions I still haven't learned first aid.
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 19054
    I can do CPR so I'd give him that whether he needed it or not.
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  • KilgoreKilgore Frets: 3286
    I was once first on the scene of a car accident. A Vauxhall vx220 went past me at speed on a country lane. It went round a bend and I heard an almighty crash.

    When I got round the bend the vauxhall had it's entire front smashed in and there was a Land rover upside down in a ditch at the side of the road. The missus went to check on the Vauxhall occupants. I went to the Land rover. I was expecting to find a corpse or heavily injured occupant. 

    I opened the door and the driver crawled out. Of course he was shuck up. I tried to get him to sit down and not move, but he insisted on lighting a fag and standing up and walking around. 

    We stayed until the emergency services turned up. 

    Turned out the middle aged Vauxhall driver had picked up the car new that morning and was trying to impress his twenty something girlfriend. My missus was ranting to the police that they should lock the twat up and throw away the key.

    Nobody seriously injured thankfully. 
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  • VimFuegoVimFuego Frets: 8839
    I'd never return to the scene...

    I'm not locked in here with you, you are locked in here with me.

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 26219
    Impossible to answer- it depends on the precise situation.
    Has never happened but I've witnessed a number of motorcycle RTA's and I've done some bike-related risk assessment training.

    Scene management is the most important aspect of any situation and the most important thing is to look after yourself.
    Essentially you shouldn't put yourself in harm's way.

    Number two is not to panic.
    If you panic then at best you can be useless, but you can be a hazard too.

    Are people aware of what a DRA is?
    It is used in the fire service and means "dynamic risk assessment".
    The easiest explanation of a DRA is crossing the road- you get to the road, look left, right and left and walk when it is safe.

    Any emergency situation is the same, you look at the situation and you adjust to the situation.

    Before I did the training I would tend to offer help to people.
    More than a couple of times the person lying in the street has simply been drunk or on drugs and have rather noisily rejected any help offered, to the point of becoming aggressive.
    In that situation I'd leave them to it.

    In Emp's scenario above I'd ask if the ambulance has been called, ask if anyone knows first aid and try to work out if they know more or less than me. I'd defer to anyone with medical training (doctor, nurse) but otherwise I'd act in accordance with the training I've done. I'd wait for the ambulance and then ask the paramedic if they want me to remain or to leave. If I can't ask that then I'd wait until I could, up to a point. I didn't see anything useful in the above situation so remaining might not be worth remaining on scene once the emergency services are there. They usually tell you what to do.
    Les miroirs ternis et les flammes mortes.
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  • MattBansheeMattBanshee Frets: 1200
    Emp_Fab said:
    ...you’re walking along the road and come across an old man laying in the recovery position, apparently unconscious, with three people crouched around him.  They are calling his name in an attempt to rouse him but are getting no response.  One of them then says “It’s ok - he’s breathing”.  There are lots of people around in the street.  What would you would do - if anything, in this scenario?

    Be honest.
    As someone who has done this before, and has a very recently lapsed first aid qualification;

    - Ask if the bystanders have called an ambulance
    - Ask if anyone there is first-aid trained
    - Ask if they need help
    - If everything is under control, leave them to it.
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  • fields5069fields5069 Frets: 2466
    I'd probably ask if all was under control, try to get a feeling for whether the people around him are helping or hindering. I'd probably stick around long enough to figure out whether they are his attackers or helpers.
    Some folks like water, some folks like wine.
    My feedback thread is here.
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 19054
    I've been first on the scene 3 times when people have had epileptic fits. That's more scary than when they've been in accidents.
    Very unpredictable.
    What is it about epileptics I find so irresistible?
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 17698
    Some interesting replies here.  I witnessed this exact scenario on Monday.  I did as many here said they would do - I left them to it.  I was reassured by the bloke saying “it’s ok, he’s breathing” and assumed a) that an ambulance had already been called and that b) he’d fallen over on the steps he was lying on, and probably banged his head or something.  After all, it’s fairly common for oldies to fall and/or pass out.

    I carried on up the steps and saw a medical centre at the end of the road.  I quickened my pace a little and popped my head in to tell them of the unconscious man.  They ran out to assist.

    I went back to my hotel, a short walk away.

    Ten minutes later, I decided to go back to see if he was ok.

    He was there - laid out under a white sheet.  He’d died.

    I have been revisiting the event over and over in my mind and in retrospect, I could have done more.  I might have been able to have saved his life if I’d acted differently.

    After some research, it seems probable that the guy had suffered cardiac arrest.  Gasping, a common feature of arrest is often mistaken for breathing it turns out.  What I SHOULD have done is realise that none of the people around him were doing anything specific other than trying to rouse him by shouting “David, David - can you hear me?” and taken charge myself.  What I didn’t know was that I SHOULD have immediately started chest compressions - regardless of whether I could feel a pulse.  You can not damage a pumping heart by giving chest compressions.

    I SHOULD have shouted to ask if anyone knew where the nearest public defibrillator was and get them to grab it.  I should have checked an ambulance had already been called and also sent someone to check if the hotel had a doctor (they do).

    My lack of knowledge (and everyone else’s in the vicinity) could well have cost this man his life.  Yes, it’s possible that it was something else that was not survivable no matter what, but if that was the case I wouldn’t have made matters worse by trying CPR.

    I feel guilty because I didn’t do these things.  Despite having had a heart attack myself, I’ve always just assumed that there’s no need to perform CPR on someone who is breathing.  The guidance is that you should always start chest compressions on an unconscious patient who isn’t breathing normally.

    I’ve learned two things from this - one, I need to go on a CPR course and two, everyone should know where their nearest public defibrillator is.  I know where my two nearest are in my village.  Do you know where yours is ?  If you needed to find one urgently, for your partner or a stranger, or were asked where one was because your neighbour was having a heart attack, would you know?  Find out today where yours is.  You won’t have time to go searching in an emergency.

    Another thing I’ve learned is that there is no national database of public defibrillator locations!  Unbelievable!  Not even the ambulance call handlers know where they all are.
    There is a plan to create one but it’s not materialised yet.  

    I feel sick sick because there was a chance David might be alive now if I’d had better basic knowledge and the gumption to step in and apply it instead of making a lot of assumptions and walking away.  It’s unlikely I’ll encounter that scenario again but if I do, I’m going to act differently - and in the meantime, I’m going to find an emergency first aid course.
    Everybody was kung-flu fighting...
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 16744
    FYI, from just an, "OK Google, where's the nearest defibrillator?", this was the first link:

    http://www.heartsafe.org.uk/aed-locations
    During the Covid19 period, we're running a "phone a friend" facility.  Just to hear a voice, keep in touch, etc. , using "JitSi".

    There's a Jitsi iOS/Android App, or you can just connect from a browser.

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 16570
    Depends how much I'd bet on him in the tramp fight. 
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  • KilgoreKilgore Frets: 3286
    @Emp_Fab ;

    It's easy with hindsight.

     Don't beat yourself up about it. You appear to get stressed out enough by all kinds of stuff. Don't let this be the same. Look after yourself. 
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 19054
    There's always a risk of breaking someone's ribs with chest compressions.
    When he sues you for grievous bodily harm, you'll wish you'd left him to it.
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  • MattBansheeMattBanshee Frets: 1200
    edited February 12
    Emp_Fab said:
    Some interesting replies here.  I witnessed this exact scenario on Monday.  I did as many here said they would do - I left them to it.  I was reassured by the bloke saying “it’s ok, he’s breathing” and assumed a) that an ambulance had already been called and that b) he’d fallen over on the steps he was lying on, and probably banged his head or something.  After all, it’s fairly common for oldies to fall and/or pass out.

    I carried on up the steps and saw a medical centre at the end of the road.  I quickened my pace a little and popped my head in to tell them of the unconscious man.  They ran out to assist.

    I went back to my hotel, a short walk away.

    Ten minutes later, I decided to go back to see if he was ok.

    He was there - laid out under a white sheet.  He’d died.

    I have been revisiting the event over and over in my mind and in retrospect, I could have done more.  I might have been able to have saved his life if I’d acted differently.

    After some research, it seems probable that the guy had suffered cardiac arrest.  Gasping, a common feature of arrest is often mistaken for breathing it turns out.  What I SHOULD have done is realise that none of the people around him were doing anything specific other than trying to rouse him by shouting “David, David - can you hear me?” and taken charge myself.  What I didn’t know was that I SHOULD have immediately started chest compressions - regardless of whether I could feel a pulse.  You can not damage a pumping heart by giving chest compressions.

    I SHOULD have shouted to ask if anyone knew where the nearest public defibrillator was and get them to grab it.  I should have checked an ambulance had already been called and also sent someone to check if the hotel had a doctor (they do).

    My lack of knowledge (and everyone else’s in the vicinity) could well have cost this man his life.  Yes, it’s possible that it was something else that was not survivable no matter what, but if that was the case I wouldn’t have made matters worse by trying CPR.

    I feel guilty because I didn’t do these things.  Despite having had a heart attack myself, I’ve always just assumed that there’s no need to perform CPR on someone who is breathing.  The guidance is that you should always start chest compressions on an unconscious patient who isn’t breathing normally.

    I’ve learned two things from this - one, I need to go on a CPR course and two, everyone should know where their nearest public defibrillator is.  I know where my two nearest are in my village.  Do you know where yours is ?  If you needed to find one urgently, for your partner or a stranger, or were asked where one was because your neighbour was having a heart attack, would you know?  Find out today where yours is.  You won’t have time to go searching in an emergency.

    Another thing I’ve learned is that there is no national database of public defibrillator locations!  Unbelievable!  Not even the ambulance call handlers know where they all are.
    There is a plan to create one but it’s not materialised yet.  

    I feel sick sick because there was a chance David might be alive now if I’d had better basic knowledge and the gumption to step in and apply it instead of making a lot of assumptions and walking away.  It’s unlikely I’ll encounter that scenario again but if I do, I’m going to act differently - and in the meantime, I’m going to find an emergency first aid course.
    Firstly, and most importantly;

    When I did my first aid course, the paramedics leading the course said that, even with a paramedic or FA trained bystander performing CPR to a high standard, a person in cardiac arrest has about a 25-30% of survival. The very first thing they told us was that, the majority of the time, performing CPR does not save the person, and one has to understand that and cannot blame themselves for someone dying in their care. This applies to you too.

    Secondly; I highly, highly recommend that everyone takes an emergency first aid course. Mine cost £35, took half a day, and you get a very useful course book and are certified for three years. I also now carry latex gloves and a resus mask in my car glove box at all times.

    There's also an app that gives AED locations. For anyone wondering; AEDs start talking to you as soon as they are picked up, they give you all instructions necessary and administer all shocks automatically; you just stick the pads on, continue CPR until it shouts at you to get clear because it's about to shock. The paramedic at the course told me that they are designed to be absolutely idiot-proof.
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 3214
    Emp_Fab said:
    ...you’re walking along the road and come across an old man laying in the recovery position, apparently unconscious...
    My first thought was, "Search the body."
    I played way too much D&D as a kid.

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  • Musicwolf said:
    I once saw a motor cyclist drop his bike, slide headlong into a car coming the other way, and then slide down the road.  I was first to react but, as I ran towards him, I thought 'if he is still alive, I've absolutely no idea what to do'.  Fortunately he was alive (it eventually turned out that all he had suffered was gravel rash and a broken coxis) but all I could do was talk to him, keep him still and make sure taht nobody tried to remove his helmet.  A passing ambulance driver (not a paramedic) arrived before the emergency ambulance.

    Despite good intentions I still haven't learned first aid.
    I got involved in a similar incident a couple of years ago. A teenager on a dirt bike tried to pass a line of traffic near a cross roads, and went at speed into the side of a car turning accross his path. Setting aside whose fault it was, he finished up hitting a garden wall pretty hard but was conscious and moving, and telling anyone who'd listen to eff off.

    Fortunately one of the other passers by was an off duty firefighter who took charge of imediate first aid. I called 999, and when I'd finished ended up having to divide my time between comforting the car driver who was in shock, and prevent some of the rider's mates from taking his bike away. I was glad when the police and paramedics showed up.

    It turned out that he'd only just got out of hospital after a similar crash, and that his bike was uninsured and not roadworthy.
    I've got more ashes than Wednesday, you know I can brew my tea
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  • munckeemunckee Frets: 5074
    edited February 12
    Sassafras said:
    There's always a risk of breaking someone's ribs with chest compressions.
    When he sues you for grievous bodily harm, you'll wish you'd left him to it.
    When I did first aid training they quoted that no-one has ever been successfully sued in the UK relating to administering first aid - not sure if still true now.



    Years ago I went on a work do 2 days after starting a new job, a woman on the do went quiet during the meal and then wine started coming out of her nose and she started to go white, she was choking and everyone else sat there frozen - I tried to give her the heimlich maneuver, she was a foot shorter than me and round like a barrel.

    What became quickly apparent was that its incredibly different to do and I probably should have been whacking her back but I tried repeatedly and nothing happened.  At the point I thought she was going to die any second she passed out and became a dead weight and fell through my arms hitting her head on the floor which caused the piece of steak lodged in her throat to come out.

    So I was utterly useless but its nearly always better to do something than nothing.
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