Stabilization

From Academic Kids

This article refers to medical stabilization. For stabilization in natural materials construction, see this article.

Stabilization is a process to help prevent shock in sick or injured people. Stabilization is often performed by EMTs and nurses before or just after arrival in hospital. It includes controlling bleeding, keeping patients warm with blankets, calming them person by personal attention and concern for their well-being, and arranging for proper evacuation.

It is particularly important in trauma cases where spinal injury is suspected to immobilize the cervical spine, or back. Failure to do so can cause permanent paralysis or death. In the field it involves moving the person's back as a single unit with as many as 5 rescuers assisting, the applying a cervical collar (which can be improvised from duct tape and cardboard), and securing victims to a solid-backed stretcher or long spine board, or a vacuum mattress.

EMTs trained in wilderness first aid (WFAs, a.k.a. "Wolfers") have a protocol for verifying that the spine has not been hurt (clearing the cervical spine) when the victim is several hours or more from the hospital and evacuation may not be indicated. Without this technique it may be necessary to carry a suspected trauma victim out only to discover that s/he had no injury worthy of the effort and expense.

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