Medic Talk By Vermillion Co. Ambulance Assn. Welcome back to Medic Talk. This month I'm going to touch on fractures and lacerations, or cuts. With kids back in school and many of them biking to school or just playing on the playground, this may be a topic of interest to parents. Some of these things may even be taught to kids.
A fracture is defined as a disruption of bone tissue. It can also involve blood vessels and nerves surrounding the bone. Although there are several different types of fractures, or ways bones can break, I'm going to stick to open and closed fractures.
A closed fracture is one in which there is not an associated open would. An open fracture occurs when the skin surrounding the bone is broken, or open. This makes a perfect route for infections to enter.
When you suspect a fracture, it is important to keep the limb as still as possible. This is to limit the amount of damage done to internal structures such as nerves and muscles. Bone ends can be very sharp and if moved around in excess, they can cause severe nerve and tissue damage.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if the fracture is not open, you don't want to make it that way. If a fracture is open, keep the wound clean. If any bone ends are protruding, do not push them back in. This will not only introduce outside germs, but can cause further tissue damage.
Stabilize the limb above and below the injury. You'll want to splint above and below any joints surrounding the break to limit movement of the injured part.
When you splint the extremity, unless there is a great deal of deformity, splint it in the position found. If there is a deformity and you need to move the part to a more normal position, do so slowly. If any resistance is met, or if it causes extreme pain, stop and splint in the position found.
If there are any associated lacerations, or cuts, it's important to keep the area clean. If there is any bleeding, elevate the extremity and apply pressure to stop the bleeding, making sure to limit movement if a break is possible. Keep direct pressure on any bleeding that won't stop and get to an emergency department immediately.
If you suspect a bone may be broken, it's important to get to a doctor as soon as possible. This way an x-ray can be taken and the break can be set by a doctor in order for the healing process to take place correctly. With growing children, this is of utmost importance.
I hope all of you have started off the school year great and haven't had to use any of these skills. Have a great month, and look for Medic Talk next month when we talk about cardiac emergencies.