One of the hardest things about trauma medicine is knowing where to begin. If you aren’t somebody who uses these skills on the regular, like an EMT or Paramedic, then you’re likely to be a little off your game. But that’s expected.
Emergencies are tense and scary and that can cause an unexperienced first responder to hesitate. But there are a few tricks that can help you make the right call when it matters most.
You might’ve gotten into trouble for it in school, but daydreaming can be great for your survival.
I learned this the hard way as a method of keeping myself present in the rocky hills of Afghanistan. While on patrol with my fireteam, it was easy for my mind to wander back to what must be happening in the normal world instead of focused on the dangers around me.
In Part 1 of Handling Emergencies Like a Pro, we talked about how to make a quick plan on the way to the casualty. Professionals do this all the time and it’s a great way to get past a lot of the indecision. But, to come up with a workable plan, you need to be trained.
Any high-level professional will tell you they are constantly training. Developing and maintaining skills takes a big stress load off your shoulders by allowing you to focus on the bigger, more dynamic picture. Since you have applied a Tourniquet (TQ)so many times in training, you aren’t thinking about each and every step when you do. Instead you’re thinking ahead about the next problem.
It’s easy to understand that dealing with trauma is
stressful. Emergencies are usually unexpected, and the surprise of a life-threatening
injury can throw even a normally calm person into panic.
This is especially the case when you don’t have any training
in first aid since you aren’t sure what to do. I know well what that particular
feeling is like. I have been the one standing there looking at a life-threatening
injury and not knowing what to do about it. It’s a terrible feeling and one I
work to avoid whenever I can.
Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid that feeling of helplessness,
and since it’s affected me so strongly, I’ve put a lot of thought into how it
can be dodged. Here’s one technique for how to manage panic in an emergency.