About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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While waiting for the ambulance

You’ve called 911, and now you’re waiting for the rescue squad to arrive. What should you do? That time can be critical for the patient, and the American College of Emergency Physicians has advice on how to help.

The physicians’ group has published a brochure, “Seconds Save Lives,” available here, which it is distributing free in the nation’s emergency rooms. The brochure offers this advice:

  • Do not move anyone involved in a car accident, injured by a serious fall or found unconscious unless he or she is in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Do not give the person anything to eat or drink.
  • If the person is bleeding, apply a clean cloth or sterile bandage. If possible, elevate the injury and apply direct pressure on the wound.
  • If the person is not breathing or does not have a pulse, begin rescue breathing or CPR. If you do not know how to, or have concerns about performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, perform “hands-only” CPR. This means pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest with minimal interruptions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. Continue chest compressions until the ambulance arrives.

“The most important, and yet sometimes the most difficult thing to do, is to keep your composure,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the group, in a statement. “You will be better able to provide critical information to emergency responders and physicians.”