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Show full transcript for Spinal Injury video

Managing Suspected Spinal Injuries: A First-Aider's Guide

The Critical Importance of Spinal Injury Care

The spine houses the irreplaceable spinal cord responsible for transmitting messages from the brain to the body. Any damage to the spinal cord is irreversible and can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, depending on the injury's location:

  • Lower Lumbar Damage: Can result in loss of leg function.
  • Higher Damage: Can affect control of vital organs, like respiration.

Golden Rule for Spinal Injury Management

When dealing with a person potentially having a spinal injury, remember: DO NOT MOVE THEM.

First-Aider Responsibilities

When faced with a patient suspected of a spinal injury, as a first-aider, follow these crucial steps:

  • Support and Stabilize: Ensure the patient's head and neck are supported, instruct them not to move, and keep looking straight ahead.
  • Maintain Position: Keep the patient's body in the same position as found, treating every case as a potential spinal injury.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are a few scenarios where you might need to move the patient:

  • Immediate Danger: If the patient is in an immediate life-threatening situation, such as a burning car, their safety takes precedence.
  • Not Breathing (CPR Required): In cases requiring CPR, carefully move the patient onto their back while stabilizing the head.
  • Risk of Choking (Vomiting): If the patient is vomiting and at risk of choking, use the log roll technique to move them onto their side for safe vomit drainage.

Remember the "SPINAL" Mnemonic

Recall these steps using the "SPINAL" mnemonic:

  • Safety (S): Ensure safety for both you and the patient.
  • Patient (P): Advise the patient not to move.
  • Immobilise (I): Protect the patient's airway and maintain head stability.
  • Neutral (N): Keep the head in a neutral position.
  • Assess (A): Evaluate for other injuries, but only if it's safe to do so.
  • Leave Alone (L): Avoid moving the patient unless absolutely necessary.

Final Thoughts

Always remember, as a first-aider, refrain from moving someone suspected of a spinal injury unless it's an absolute necessity. Maintain their position, provide head and neck support, ensure emergency services are on the way, offer reassurance, and keep the patient calm.