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Evaluate the Casualty

As a combat lifesaver, you will evaluate and treat soldiers as your combat duties permit

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Lesson 27
EVALUATE THE CASUALTY

INTRODUCTION

As a combat lifesaver, you will evaluate and treat soldiers as your combat duties permit. This requires you to apply the buddy-aid skills presented in IS0824 and the medical skills presented in IS0825. You must identify what is wrong with the casualty and determine the sequence in which the various treatments will be given. For example, you would restore breathing to a casualty before you would splint his fractured leg. In general, you will restore breathing, then control any major bleeding, then take measures to control shock.

EVALUATE THE CASUALTY

Once life-threatening conditions and/or injuries have been identified and treated, look for other injuries or problems and treat them.

If you have more than one casualty, perform a quick primary survey of each casualty. If you find a life-threatening condition during your primary survey, treat that condition immediately. After you have performed primary surveys on all casualties and have treated all immediate life-threatening conditions, perform a secondary survey on each casualty. Treat the more seriously injured casualty first.

EVALUATE THE CASUALTY

Use common sense when evaluating a casualty. If the environmental conditions favor heat injuries, for example, pay special attention to signs and symptoms of heat injury while also quickly checking for other injuries.

Some evaluations may be performed so fast they may appear to be skipped. If a casualty is yelling in pain, for example, you do not need to perform additional checks to determine if the casualty is conscious and breathing.

EVALUATE THE CASUALTY

TASK

Identify appropriate evaluation and treatment procedures, including sequence, performed on the battlefield.

CONDITIONS

Given multiple-choice examination items pertaining to evaluating and treating a casualty.

STANDARD

Score 70 or more points on the 100-point written examination.

PERFORM A
GENERAL SURVEY
OF THE SCENE

Quickly evaluate your immediate surroundings to gather vital information.

Look for obvious, immediate, life-threatening hazards such as flames, the possibility of an immediate explosion, enemy fire, and electrical hazards. If your life and the casualty's life are in danger due to your immediate environment, tactically move the casualty and yourself to safety, thus preventing yourself from being injured.

PERFORM A
GENERAL SURVEY
OF THE SCENE

Note the physical surroundings and the climate. A wall may indicate that the casualty could have fallen. Hot weather may indicate the possibility of heat injury.

Note the type of battle or incident that occurred. This may help you determine the type of injuries you can expect (bullet wounds after a fire fight, shrapnel injuries after a mortar attack, fractured limbs and spinal injuries after an airborne accident, etc.)

Note whether chemical agents may be present.

PROTECT CASUALTY FROM HAZARDS

If a life-threatening hazard (such as a burning building) is present, remove the casualty to a place of safety using the cradle drop drag or other appropriate carry (IS0824, Lesson 15).

If the casualty is being burned (flames, chemicals, electrical current, etc.), eliminate the source of the burn (IS0824, Lesson 11). Take care to prevent being injured yourself, especially if separating the casualty from an electrical wire.

If a spinal injury is suspected (IS0824, Lesson 10), take care to prevent additional damage to the spinal column. Immobilize the casualty's neck and back after completing your primary survey.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Mask and Treat a Chemical Agent Casualty

If you are in a chemical environment, make sure the casualty is properly masked. If signs of severe nerve agent poisoning are present, administer three Mark I kits and one CANA (IS0824, Lesson 13).

If liquid blister agent is in the casualty's eyes, flush his eyes with water even if you are still in a chemical environment (IS0825, Lesson 22).

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Responsiveness

Calmly ask in a loud voice, "Are you okay?" or some similar question that demands a response from the casualty. If he does not respond, gently shake him or tap him on the shoulder and repeat the question.

If the casualty responds, ask the casualty for information ("Where do you hurt?" "Were you hit?" "Were you exposed to chemical agents?" etc.) This information will be useful in your evaluation, but continue to evaluate the casualty in a systematic method since the injury that hurts the most may not be the injury that needs to be treated first.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

If the casualty is not responsive, send a soldier for medical help (send soldier to get a combat medic) and continue your evaluation.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Check the Casualty's Airway

If the casualty is responsive, evaluate him for airway obstruction (universal choking sign, difficulty in breathing, etc.). If the casualty has poor or no air exchange, expel the obstruction (IS0824, Lesson 2).

If the casualty is not responsive (unconscious), open his airway using the head-tilt/chin-lift or jaw thrust method (IS0824, Lesson 3).

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Question:

If you think the casualty has a fractured neck, which method would you use?

Response:

Jaw thrust.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Check the Casualty's Breathing

If a responsive casualty is talking or yelling in pain, his breathing is adequate.

If the casualty is not responsive (unconscious), evaluate his breathing by feeling for breath on your face, looking for the rising and falling of his chest, and listening for sounds of breathing.

If the casualty is not breathing or is having difficulty in breathing, open his airway, expel any airway obstruction, and perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (IS0824, Lesson 3).

Do not perform mouth-to-mouth (or mouth-to-nose) resuscitation in a chemical environment.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Check the Casualty's Circulation

If the casualty is responsive and breathing adequately, he has a pulse.

If the casualty is unresponsive or not breathing, check his pulse (IS0824, Lesson 3). If the casualty has no pulse, seek medical help immediately.

If you are qualified to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation, you can administer CPR and send a soldier to get medical help.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Bleeding

Look for blood-soaked clothing, spurts of blood, pooling of blood under the body, and other signs of external bleeding.

If a major amputation of a limb is found, apply a tourniquet to the upper arm or thigh and dress the stump (IS0824, Lesson 4).

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Question:

If a soldier has had a finger completely cut off, would you apply a tourniquet?

Response:

No. Amputation of part of a hand or part of a foot can be controlled by a pressure dressing.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

If serious bleeding from a wound of the arm or leg is found, apply a field dressing or improvised dressing and bandage to the wound (IS0824, Lesson 4). Look for both entry and exit wounds.

Apply manual pressure and, if the limb is not fractured, elevate the wound.

If serious bleeding from a limb is not controlled by the field dressing, apply a pressure dressing (IS0824, Lesson 4).

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

If serious bleeding from a limb is not controlled by the pressure dressing, apply a tourniquet (IS0824, Lesson 4).

If an open chest wound is found, seal the wound with the plastic dressing wrapper or other airtight material, tape the sealing material on three sides to form a flutter valve, and apply a field dressing to the wound (IS0824, Lesson 5).

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

If an open abdominal wound is found, position the casualty in a flexed-knee position, position any protruding organs on the casualty's abdomen, apply a field or improvised dressing over the wound and organs, and secure the dressing (IS0824, Lesson 6).

If an open head wound is found, dress the wound (IS0824, Lesson 7). If the casualty has a severe head injury, immobilize the casualty's head and neck (IS0824, Lesson 10).

If the casualty has more than one severe wound, treat the wound loosing the most blood first.

Do not further expose the wound if you are in a chemical environment.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Treat for Chemical Agent Poisoning, If Appropriate

If the casualty is showing signs and symptoms of exposure to chemical agents (IS0825, Lesson 22), the casualty is breathing, and all life-threatening wounds have been treated, administer additional treatment for chemical agent poisoning as needed (IS0825, Lesson 22). (NOTE: The casualty has already been masked and, if severe nerve agent poisoning was present, administered three Mark I antidote kits and one CANA.)

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Have the casualty begin self-aid decontamination procedures if he is able (IS0824, Lesson 13). If he cannot, have another soldier decontaminate the casualty. Do not stop your evaluation and treatment to decontaminate the casualty at this time.

If the casualty is suffering from severe nerve agent poisoning and 5 minutes have passed since you administered the last Mark I kit and the CANA, take the casualty's pulse. If the pulse rate is below 90 beats per minute, administer an atropine injector.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

If the casualty still twitches, showing signs of seizure, you may administer two more CANA injections at about 5 to 10 minute intervals. Actually, time is less important here than the symptoms. Three CANAs are the limit--normally one from the soldier's mask carrier and two from your combat lifesaver aid bag.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Shock

Check the casualty for signs and symptoms of shock (clammy and pale skin, severe loss of blood, severe burns, increased breathing rate, mental confusion, etc.).

If hypovolemic shock is present, position the casualty, protect him from the environment, and administer fluids intravenously (IS0824, Lesson 8, and IS0825, Lesson 17).

Position the casualty on his back with the feet elevated slightly above the level of his heart unless his injury requires a different position.

PERFORM A PRIMARY SURVEY OF THE
CASUALTY

If the casualty has a fractured leg, do not elevate the leg until it has been splinted.

Initiate an I.V. if the casualty has suffered severe blood loss or has second or third degree burns on 20 percent or more of his body.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Fractures

Check legs and arms for protruding bone, abnormal limb position, major wounds, bruises, and painful or tender spots.

If a spinal injury is suspected (IS0824, Lesson 10), immobilize the casualty's neck and back (IS0824, Lesson 10).

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

If a fracture or a massive wound is present, dress open wounds on the limb (including burns) and then immobilize the limb with a padded splint (IS0824, Lesson 9, and IS0825, Lesson 20). Secure the splint above and below the fracture site.

Do not try to straighten (align) the broken bone.

Check the casualty's circulation before and after applying the cravats. Loosen the cravats and reapply, if needed.

Apply a sling and swath to further immobilize a fractured upper arm, forearm, or wrist (IS0824, Lesson 9).

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Burns

Look for reddened, blistered, or charred skin, for burned or singed clothing, and for other evidence of burns. Give special attention to burns about the head and neck for possible inhalation burns. Some burns, such as chemical burns, may not be readily seen unless the casualty's clothing is removed.

Do not further expose wounds if you are in a chemical environment.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

If the casualty has a chemical burn, remove as much of the chemical as possible before applying a dressing. (NOTE: Keep white phosphorus burns wet to keep the particles away from oxygen and thus igniting, but do not try to remove the particles.)

Apply a dry dressing to burned areas on the trunk and limbs (IS0824, Lesson 11).

Do not apply a bandage to burns of the face or genitalia.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Remove jewelry from a burned limb.

If an electrical current passed through the casualty, locate and dress both the entry and exit wounds.

If second and third degree burns cover 20 percent or more of the skin surface, initiate an intravenous infusion (IS0825, Lesson 17).

Check the Casualty for Closed Head Injury (Concussion)

Look for signs and symptoms of a concussion (IS0824, Lesson 7).

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Question:

What are some of the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

Response:

Unequal pupils, fluid leaking from the ear or nose, slurred speech, mental confusion, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, loss of memory, loss of consciousness, twitching or convulsions, difficulty in walking (staggering), nausea, and vomiting.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

If a closed head injury is suspected, evacuate the casualty to a medical treatment facility.

If the casualty is having convulsions, support his head and neck and maintain an open airway.

If the casualty has a head injury, monitor the casualty's respirations and be prepared to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should it become necessary.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Environmental Injuries

If the casualty has been working in a hot environment, check for signs and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps (IS0824, Lesson 12).

If the casualty has heat stroke, expose the skin, pour or spray water on him, fan him, and evacuate him as quickly as possible. Continue cooling efforts, such as pouring water over the casualty and fanning him, during evacuation. Have him drink cool water if he can tolerate the water without vomiting.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

If the casualty is suffering from heat cramps or heat exhaustion, move him to a shaded place and cool him off. Have the casualty drink at least one quart of cool water.

All casualties with heat exhaustion or heat stroke should get an intravenous infusion (IS0825, Lesson 17). Also, try to get the casualty to drink water.

If the casualty has been exposed to cold or freezing weather, check for signs and symptoms of general hypothermia, frostbite, immersion syndrome, and chilblain (IS0825, Lesson 23).

If general hypothermia is present, move the casualty to a protected location and use a heat source (such as another soldier's body) to rewarm the casualty. Evacuate the casualty as soon as practical.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

If deep frostbite is found, move the casualty to a warm place, thaw the area, and evacuate the casualty as soon as practical.

Do not thaw frozen feet if the casualty will be required to walk or if the feet will refreeze before reaching the medical treatment facility.

If superficial frostbite or chilblain is found, rewarm and protect the affected area.

If immersion syndrome is found, dry and rewarm the affected area.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Check the casualty for visual problems resulting from lasers weapons or snow blindness (IS0824, Lesson 11, and IS0825, Lesson 23).

Protect the casualty from additional injury. Cover the eyes with a dark cloth if the casualty is in pain or if vision loss is severe.

Evacuate the casualty if practical.

PERFORM A SECONDARY SURVEY OF THE CASUALTY

Check the Casualty for Other Wounds/Fractures

Look for minor wounds and fractures. Dress and bandage the wounds as time permits. Splint fractured fingers using the same basic splinting procedures given in IS0824, Lesson 9.

Check the Casualty for Combat Stress Reaction

If the casualty appears to be injured but you cannot find any physical injury, look for signs and symptoms of combat stress reaction (IS0825, Lesson 24). If combat stress reaction is suspected, take appropriate measures.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

Monitor the casualty for life-threatening conditions throughout the evaluation process. For example, a casualty who is breathing when you begin your evaluation may suddenly stop breathing. Anytime a life-threatening condition is detected, stop your evaluation and treat the life-threatening condition.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

Some conditions may require time to properly evaluate. If you apply a field dressing to a bleeding wound on the casualty's leg, for example, continue to monitor the injury in case additional measures (pressure dressing or tourniquet) are needed to control bleeding. You can proceed with your evaluation and treatment of the casualty while continuing to monitor the wound for bleeding.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

If you have administered nerve agent antidote to a severe nerve agent casualty, continue to check the casualty's pulse every five minutes. If the casualty's pulse rate is below 90 beats per minute, administer an atropine autoinjector (IS0825, Lesson 22). Remember, for control of seizures, give another CANA up to the limit of three.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

If the casualty has not been treated for shock, take measures to prevent shock. The measures to control shock given in Lesson 8 of IS0824 (loosen clothing, position the casualty, and protect the casualty from the cold) are also used to prevent shock from occurring.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

Monitor a heat cramp or heat exhaustion casualty to ensure he continues to drink water without vomiting and his condition does not become more serious. Be prepared to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, increase cooling efforts, initiate an I.V., and evacuate the casualty if his condition worsens.

Be ready to open his airway and administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should the need arise. If medical personnel arrive, report your findings.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

Insert an oropharyngeal airway to keep an unconscious casualty's airway open if the airway is needed and is the proper size (IS0825, Lesson 21).

Continue to perform any needed procedures, such as keeping white phosphorus burns wet.

If you are treating more than one casualty, continue to monitor the other casualties for life-threatening conditions while administering treatment to a casualty.

Whenever possible, have the casualty evaluated by a combat medic or other medical personnel.

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

Continue to monitor the casualty until you return the casualty to duty, until a medical person (usually a combat medic or member of a medical evacuation team) takes over, or until you must resume your combat duties.

If the casualty requires evacuation, transport him using the best means available (IS0825, Lesson 26, and IS0824, Lessons 14 and 15).

MONITOR THE CASUALTY

If you are the leader of a litter team evacuating the casualty, continue to monitor the casualty during the evacuation. Stop and render the appropriate aid if a life-threatening condition arises.

If a medic is not available and a soldier has a minor headache, cold, or hay fever, administer acetaminophen or pseudoephedrine hydrochloride tablets as needed if no contraindications are present (IS0825, Lesson 25).

ASSIST THE MEDIC

If the medic requests assistance and your combat duties allow, assist the combat medic in providing care to casualties and evacuating casualties. The medic will provide instructions as needed.

EVALUATE THE CASUALTY

CLOSING

As a Combat Lifesaver, you play a vital role in the treatment of the sick and injured on the battlefield. In many instances, you will be the first person to encounter and treat the patient. The care you provide can make the difference between a life saved and a life lost. Stay current in your skills and be prepared to employ them at a moments notice!

Questions