MECHANISMS OF INJURY – FORCES EXERTED ON THE BODY
The energy forces exerted during an impact are another important indicator of the type or severity of any injury. For example. if a man falls from a height of 1m (3ft 3in) or less onto the hard ground, he will probably suffer bruising but no serious injury.
A fall from a height of more than 2m (6ft 6in), however, is likely to produce more serious injuries, such as a pelvic fracture and internal bleeding.
An apparently less serious fall can mask a more dangerous injury. If a person falls down the stairs, for example, she may tell you that she injured her ankle. If she has fallen awkwardly onto a hard surface, however, she may have sustained a spine and/or head injury.
MOST SERIOUS INJURY MAY BE HIDDEN
A first aider should keep the casualty still, ask someone to support her head, and call 999/112 for emergency help.
QUESTIONS TO ASK AT THE SCENE
When you are attending a casualty, ask the casualty or any witnesses, questions to try to find out the mechanism of the injury. Witnesses are especially important if the casualty is unable to talk to you. Possible questions include:
- Was the casualty ejected from a vehicle?
- Was the casualty wearing a correctly adjusted seat-belt?
- Did the vehicle rollover?
- Was the casualty wearing a helmet?
- How far did the casualty fall?
- What type of surface did he land on?
- Is there evidence cf body contact with a solid object, such as the floor, or a vehicle’s windscreen or dashboard?
- How did he fall? (For example, twisting falls can stretch or tear the ligaments or tissues around a joint such as the knee or ankle.)
Pass on all the information that you have gathered to the emergency services.