How to Diagnose an Unconscious Injured Person

Finding an unconscious person or witnessing a person's collapse can be frightening. There are many conditions that can cause unconsciousness. Although a true diagnosis can only come from a qualified medical professional, you can gather information and find clues that can help form a diagnosis. This article will tell you how to diagnose an unconscious injured person.

Steps

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    Talk to the witnesses or person's family. Did a witness see what happened? Did the victim complain to someone of dizziness, a headache, nausea or numbness before collapsing?
    • If you are talking to family, or someone who knows the victim, try to get as much medical history as possible. Find out if the person is pregnant, has a pacemaker, etc.
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    Inquire about witnesses' health. If you start feeling unwell, have multiple unconscious victims, or bystanders start to feel unwell, consider an environmental toxin such as carbon monoxide.
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    Check the victim for a medical ID bracelet or necklace if no one knows the victim or saw what happened (for example, seeing the person hit by a car).
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    A person with diabetes, epilepsy, or other chronic problem might be wearing one. The condition listed could be considered a possible cause.
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    Look around the environment for potential clues. Pay attention to the climate of a place. Is it extremely hot or cold where the victim is? Heat stroke or hypothermia could have made the victim pass out.
    • Finding empty, or partially empty, alcohol bottles, pill bottles or a needle can indicate a possible overdose. Seeing a ladder close to the victim or electrical tools can mean the victim might have fallen or been electrocuted.
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    Note any strange smells in the environment or on the person's breath. Strange smells can indicate toxins or a medical condition such as in diabetes.
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    Access the victim. Look for lumps on the head, evidence of broken bones -- especially in the neck or back -- bleeding or fever. This could be a primary cause of unconsciousness or a secondary injury.
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    Look for strange marks on the victim such as puncture marks (from a needle or a snake) or signs of infection. This can include swelling, redness or lines around a wound.
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    Note the person's age. If the person is older, a heart attack or stroke may be the cause of the victim's collapse.

Warnings

  • Call for help and start treating the victim immediately if the person is not breathing or is bleeding extensively. Information for a diagnosis should be taken later.
  • Never move anyone that has a suspected head or spinal injury unless the person is in immediate danger.
  • Evacuate the area and call for emergency medical personnel if you or others start feeling sick while attempting to treat a victim.

Article Info

Categories: Injury and Accidents