By: Dominique Boyette
We have seen how important it is to be able to quickly respond and acclimate to change. With the global COVID-19 pandemic still growing internationally and locally, this fluctuating health crisis has proved the importance of preparedness.
On the grand scale, it may be obvious what an emergency is; an insurgent uprising and storming of a capitol, 10.3 million acres of land catching fire, guns in schools, but sometimes our threshold of what actually is an emergency will surpass our ability to acknowledge or identify one.
It’s easy to know uncontrollable bleeding from a wound is bad, but do you know how to identify internal bleeding? Or do you know how to assist someone through a seizure? Here you will learn what the most prevalent medical emergencies within our community are and to share tips on how to navigate through them and possibly buy you time until professional help can arrive.
So, what is a medical emergency?
According to UnitekEMT, the most commonly treated injuries and illnesses treated by emergency medical service (EMS) providers are the following:
Here are some of the most common medical emergencies, how to recognize them, and when to seek treatment:
2. Breathing difficulties
3. Collapse/sudden cardiac arrest
5. Severe pain
6. Heart attack –is when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly becomes blocked
7. Stroke is due to the blood supply being cut off to a portion of the brain, often caused by a blood clot of bleed on the brain
8. Severe sudden headache
9. Choking/ingesting toxic substances
10. Suicidal Ideation and self harm
While there may be no way to protect ourselves from the unexpected, we can take measures that give us a better chance to survive medical emergencies that can easily turn fatal or have permanent living impact. Knowing your risk factors can better inform you whether or not pain you’re experiencing are actually red flags and indicators you need medical attention.
The fact that many of the BIPOC community live with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancers amongst many other illnesses with a higher disparity than white counterparts makes us much more vulnerable and likely to suffer with increased risk from accidents and medical emergencies. If we’re not able to properly identify symptoms or administer first aid care while waiting to receive assistance from a system often veiled in racism, we will continue to stand in a wake of preventable death and lasting harm.
Although the data found for this post may be inclusive of all races in America (based off EMS 911 calls), we want to shed a light on the racial disparity of affliction and treatment the BIPOC community experiences when face to face with a medical emergency as well.
For example did you know there’s a study that found Black and Hispanic patients were more likely than whites to be transported to a safety-net hospital for poor or uninsured patients rather than the nearest emergency room?
“The "significant" difference could affect how well a patient is treated, according to the study, produced by the Boston University School of Medicine. It was published in JAMA Network Open, an online platform of the Journal of the American Medical Association.”
More often than not, we are not always in the right headspace to be able to discern where we are or where we want to go in an emergency situation and must rely on someone else to get us to a hospital. Even so, if you can research your neighborhoods before hand, learning which medical facilities are closest to you or even your job could prove to be beneficial; especially in some cases when medical professionals are subject to racial biases instead of your best interest.
Despite having to deal with racism while in vulnerable states, we must be diligent in priming ourselves with the ability to attend to a crisis. These step in knowing what a medical emergency is is being able to identify one if and when they happen.
If you would like assistance creating your personalized plan, Register for the Plan Well for Care Course beginning March 7, 2021.
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
“12 Medical Emergencies You Need to Address Right Away
“How to Use an Automated External Defibrillator”
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Emergency or Not?
HEALTH FOR TEENS
“7 MOST COMMON MEDICAL EMERGENCIES”
NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE/NHS.UK
“MOST COMMON EMS EMERGENCIES FOR EMTS AND PARAMEDICS”
CDC CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
“PREPARE YOUR HEALTH”
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS
“STOP THE BLEED CAMPAIGN”
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
“STOP THE BLEED”
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
“Association of Race/Ethnicity With Emergency Department Destination of Emergency Medical Services Transport
“Pain Tolerance Tied to ‘Silent’ Heart Attack Risk”
Save a Life by National Health Care Provider Solutions
“Relief of Choking For Adults, Children, & Infants”