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How to Check a Conscious Victim

By Contributor ; Updated July 27, 2017

How to Check a Conscious Victim. If you are among the first to arrive at the scene of an accident or disaster, or if you come upon someone who appears to be ill or injured, survey the scene to be sure that it is safe to enter. Assuming the scene is safe, you may begin to assess the status of victims.

Ascertain whether or not the victim is conscious by tapping the victim and shouting, "Hello. Are you awake?" If the victim can't answer, check for other signs of consciousness, such as alertness, open eyes and voluntary, purposeful movement.

Introduce yourself to a conscious victim, and ask for consent to lend assistance. If the victim says, "No," there is nothing you can do. If the victim is conscious but disoriented, is unconscious or is a minor with no legal guardian present, you have implied consent to render assistance. If the victim is initially conscious, rejects assistance but subsequently loses consciousness, that constitutes implied consent.

Check the victim from head to toe, looking for obvious signs of injury and trauma, including cuts, bumps and bruises. Check the victim's skin color and temperature, observe whether the victim's skin is clammy, and check the victim's lips and fingernail beds for normal coloring.

Ask the victim if she can wiggle her fingers and toes. Hold the victim's hands and feet and ask the victim if she can feel your touch.

Call 911 if the victim seems disoriented or is unable to coherently respond to your questions.

Tips

To learn how to properly place a victim in the recovery position, refer to the eHow article "How To Use the Recovery Position." If you must leave the victim to call 911 or summon other help, place an adult victim in the recovery position unless you suspect a head, neck or back injury. In adults, the recovery position helps maintain an open airway. However, in infants, the recovery position increases the risk of sudden infant death and should not be used.

Warnings

Even though a conscious victim may appear outwardly uninjured, it is possible to have internal injuries, including closed-head brain injuries. If you suspect that the victim is unstable, call 911 immediately. Try to keep the victim immobilized.

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