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First Aid Assignment - Fractures

Health assignment for term 3. How to provide first-aid for fractures.

Steve West

on 4 September 2014

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Transcript of First Aid Assignment - Fractures

First Aid: Fractures
What is a fracture?
A bone fracture, which is simply a broken bone, occurs when a force is exerted against a bone and is stronger than what it can structurally withstand (Better Health Channel, 2014).
Causes of a bone fracture include:
Traumatic incidents, such as sporting injuries, a vehicle accident and a fall;
Conditions, such as osteoporosis and some cancers, that cause bones to fracture more easily, so minor falls can be serious;
Sudden impact to the joint/s; and
Overuse, that is, continuous motion can tire muscles and place more force on the bone/s. This can result in stress fractures.

The most common places where bones fracture include the wrist, ankle and hip (Better Health Channel, 2014).
First Aid for Fractures
First, follow: DRSABCD:
- make sure the area is safe for you and patient;
- check for a response;
- call '000' or ask someone else to do it;
- check that the airway is clear;
- check for breathing, & if normal place into recovery position and monitor the person;
- CPR (if needed)

- defibrillator (if needed and available)
Sings & Symptoms
Signs & Symptoms of a fracture:
1. Pain near the sight of the injury;
2. Difficult or impossible to move;
3. Loss of power;
4. Distortion or abnormal mobility;
5. Fatigue;
6. Swelling;
7. Change in colour and bruising.
Better Health Channel, 2014.
Bone fractures - Better Health Channel.
[online] Available at: <http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Bone_fractures?open> [Accessed 14 Aug. 2014].
Cyh.com, (2014). Kids' Health - Topics - First aid - broken bones. [online] Available at: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=285&id=1569 [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].

Nlm.nih.gov, 2014. Dislocation: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000014.htm> [Accessed 14 Aug. 2014].

www.sja.org.uk, (2014). Fractures. [online] Available at: http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/first-aid-advice/fractures.aspx [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].

Problems with fractures
Problems caused by bone fractures include:

Blood loss – bones have a blood supply. A bad break can make someone lose large amounts of blood
Injuries to organs & surrounding structures – for example, the brain is at risk of being damaged by a skull fracture.
Stunted growth of the bone – in children, if a long bone breaks close to the joint where the growth plates are found.
By Steven + Faris
During an emergency, it can be hard to tell a dislocation from a fracture, or broken bone, however both require the same first aid treatment (Nlm.nih.gov, 2014) .
Image: a bone fracture in the lower leg.
Image: an open-ankle fracture
'John was running a 12km cross-country for his local team. He was one of the last ones in the race. Half way through his race he caught his foot in a pot hole and fractured the tibia bone in his right leg. One of the racers behind John, Brian, found him lying on the ground in pain and seeking for help. What should Brian do?'
First-Aid for John
Image: preform CPR if the person is not breathing
First-Aid for a Fracture
Keep the person still; do not move them unless of severe danger.
Attend to any bleeding wounds first. To stop bleeding, press firmly on the site with a clean dressing or cloth.
Don't try to force a fracture or dislocation back into place - this could lead to further injuries.
If there is a limb fracture - provide support/comfort, such as a pillow.
Apply a splint; this doesn't have to be professional - wooden boards and magazines can also work.
If there is a collarbone/arm fracture - use a sling.
Raise the fractured area if possible, and use ice to reduce the swelling.
Don't let the person eat/drink in case they require surgery.
If in doubt whether it's a fracture or dislocation, always treat the injury as a fracture

(Better Health Channel, 2014)
Image: a wooden splint
thing Brian should do:
- Ensure that the area is safe for John as well as Brian. He has done this, and there aren't any dangers on the track.
- Check for a response from John - ask his name, or squeeze his shoulders. John was able to tell Brian about the injury he obtained.
- send for help - call 000. Brian has told one of the people watching the race to dial an ambulance & tell them of a possible fracture.
- check the airway is clear. Brian is able to get a response from John, and he is maintaining normal breathing. Brian can continue with first-aid for the injury.
- breathing. Brian should monitor John's breathing until the ambulance arrives.
- CPR; If John falls unconscious, Brian should preform this.
- use a defibrillator if necessary & available (most likely not on a cross country track)
What John's experiencing:
When Brian came over, John told him that he 'thinks' he has fractured his lower leg, as he heard a 'snap' when he fell over.

John is unable to apply any form of pressure to his lower leg, and there is intense swelling lower down, closer to the ankle.

John is unable to stand, or move his lower foot/ankle.

When Brian asses the situation, he finds that the bone has not penetrated the skin, and isn't sure if it's been dislocated or fractured. Thus, he will treat it as a fracture.
First-Aid for John
The next thing Brian should do as John is conscious, breathing and immobile:
Follow the first aid for fractures.
Make sure that John remains still;
Attend to the bleeding wounds first; in this case there aren't any, so that doesn't need to be done.
Do not try and straighten John's bone. As it is under the skin, this can be very dangerous.
As this is a limb fracture, provide support under the leg, without causing any more pain. A pillow or jacket are examples of what can be used.
Apply a splint. This can be made from two pieces of wood, or sticks, for example.
If possible, raise the area and apply ice to reduce the swelling.
Do not allow John to eat/drink, in case he requires surgery.
Await the ambulance's arrival.
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