eli5: Why is it so important to keep an accident/trauma victim conscious ?

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Why do medics try everything to keep injured patients awake and conscious ?

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5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They don’t and it’s not important. Unconscious people make it to the ER and survive sometimes.

In first aid training we are taught to keep the person talking and telling us what they feel, and then engaging with them about this, but this is mostly so that the patient feels we are actively caring, which potentially reduces panic and shock. Unconscious patients don’t panic, they don’t try to move and they don’t struggle…

Anonymous 0 Comments

Conscience patients are able to relay information, if someone got into something like a car accident, they can point out where pain is, indicating that something wrong about that location

Such as if they’re suffering a brain injury, you can gauge how severe it is by asking questions, if you ask the first set of questions and they can’t answer then that’s not good, but if they can answer the same set of questions a few minutes later that reveals a positive sign, meanwhile if they can answer the first set but not the second then you know their condition is actively worsening

Generally, the more info the patient is able to relay, the better you’re able to provide treatment to them

Anonymous 0 Comments

First comment is more wrong than it is right IMO. Technically a first responder is not going to prioritize maintaining consciousness, sure, but if someone loses consciousness and remains unresponsive that is a sign that life saving measures may need to be initiated.

Proper first aid involves assessing someone’s level of consciousness as this determines management.

If someone can maintain their consciousness, then you know that their heart and lungs are functioning properly and they can breath on their own. If they are not conscious, you need to determine if that is reversible (shake them awake, use a sternal rub to assess if pain will wake them up). If they do not wake to touch, sound, or pain, then they could potentially not be able to protect their airway and you should assess their ABCs: airway, breathing, and circulation. Depending on how they are this determines whether you need to maintain their airway, initiate CPR, etc.

I highly recommend everyone take a BLS course from the Red Cross, even if it’s just the online only one. You could save a life.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s just a lot easier to work with a conscious patient. With a conked out one you don’t magically know if they are ok or if they have just died on you, you have to constantly check pulse and breathing. If you need to move them you get no feedback if you are hurting them more or not. If they are not conscious, there are bunch of symptoms they can’t exhibit or complain about and as a result you would be unaware of some problems they may have. There might be some critical information such that the patient needs this or that medication, if the patient can’t tell you, you will not know. When you are doing some first aid activity, from a conscious patient you can see and they can tell you if it’s making things better or not.

Consciousness is an excellent indicator that the brain is getting it’s oxygen and the patient isn’t about to die quite yet. Without that indicator, things get a lot more problematic.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Paramedic here:

This is actually two fold questions:

By encourage patient staying awake in theory encourage them to secrete adrenaline which keeps their blood pressure. For first responders who have no access to pressors like norepinephrine or phenylephrine this might be their only way preventing patient from crashing.

On the other hand it’s a movie trope. Movies like to use it to create tension regardless if it’s actually clinically appropriate to do so.