Emergencies: ask for help - First Aid


First aid

First aid

Emergencies: ask for help

The health emergency system Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • The health emergency system
    • The call to 118
    • The means of medical transport
    • The rescue helicopter
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

When the ordinary citizen is involved in a health problem, he must try to understand essentially two things, that is, if this is a doctor's strict competence and if it is an urgent problem.

In the first case, anyone can face and resolve the situation independently: it is the case, for example, of a superficial injury, an occasional feverish episode and so on.

In the case of "non-urgent" health problems, for example a wound that requires a tetanus vaccination or if you are faced with an episode of fever that shows no sign of diminishing despite the medications, you should seek medical attention.

The one provided by the National Health System is the family doctor, or the medical guard if the problem occurs during the night or on holidays and on holidays. These pages deal with the third case, that is, the one in which we are faced with an "urgent" health problem.

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The health emergency system

It is good to turn to the emergency health system when the problem is perceived as more or less urgent and, even more, if the person affected appears to be in danger of life. It is possible to contact the emergency medical system in two ways, that is, by accessing the emergency room directly or by making a call to system 118.

In the first case, those who are ill have autonomous movement capacity or can be easily assisted by another person (this is the case of a fall in the house that has caused a contusion in the arm, with intense pain and significant difficulties in the mobility of a shoulder or hand, copious nasal bleeding and so on), while the second mode must be activated when the sudden event compromises the possibility of autonomous movement or with the help of inexperienced people (for example a suspected fracture of a leg) or when there is a sudden event that must be addressed urgently (for example, a sudden and violent abdominal colic). In this case the call to “118” must be made.

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The call to 118

The person in charge of calling 118 must try to make an assessment of the environment in which they find themselves. For example, in the event of an accident, it is important to understand if the injured person was hit or lost control of the car on his own, if other people are involved, if the cause of the accident was an illness. The "environmental" assessment also includes any details of the place where you are, for example if there are problems of access or traffic, so as to allow the sending of adequate emergency vehicles (medical car, ambulances or rescue helicopter) . Together with a purely environmental assessment, those who turn to 118 are asked to also provide a "health" assessment, that is, if the people involved are unconscious or very suffering, if they breathe and so on.

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The means of medical transport

The available emergency vehicles are the medical car, ambulances and the rescue helicopter. The medical car is used when there are particularly urgent situations that, in the first instance, do not seem to require transport to the hospital (for example in the case of a renal colic), or is combined with an ambulance in the event that the person affected should be transported to the hospital. However, the medical car is not present in all Italian regions; consequently, the means of transport for injured persons on the road can be divided basically into three types.

  • Ambulance with only rescue volunteers (which in some regions is called a basic ambulance).

Usually the crew consists of some volunteers of the 118 system who, having followed a thorough training course, are able to carry out different and delicate operations: buffer an external bleeding, perform a cardiorespiratory resuscitation (BLS), immobilize a fracture, use special equipment for immobilization and transportation and so on. Volunteers don't give drugs.

  • Ambulance with crew consisting of a nurse and two volunteers (in some regions it is called "India").

In addition to what is described for the basic ambulance it is possible, thanks to the presence of the nurse, to place an IV and administer drugs by mouth, by intramuscular or intravenous injection and so on).

  • Ambulance with crew consisting of a doctor with at least two volunteers (in some regions it is called "Tango").

The latter type of medical crew intervenes in more serious situations, being able to rescue a patient, even if serious, if necessary, intubate him and perform the so-called ALS (Advanced Life Support). In some situations (particular gravity or particular territorial location) it is possible that the rescue helicopter, whose crew is generally composed of the pilot, a resuscitating doctor and two nurses, may be sent to the accident site. In case of mountain rescue, a flight technician and an Alpine Rescue technician may be in place of the nurses.

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The rescue helicopter

When there are particularly serious road accidents, when traffic and transport in equipped hospitals are difficult, if serious burns are to be rescued and, in any case, in all situations where the timely intervention of highly specialized personnel is essential, the intervention of the helicopter is necessary. However, it must be taken into consideration that this does not fly at night and, in any case, not in conditions of poor visibility; it also needs a large space to land, which does not have power lines or trees in the immediate vicinity. The landing surface must be compact ground, which allows the stability of the helicopter and does not create displacements of air and dust which could be harmful to the injured. It is also good that those who are on the ground, follow some precautions: you must never approach the helicopter from the rear or from the side since the pilot has a good vision only from the front. If the helicopter lands on uneven ground, you must approach the vehicle from the higher part of the blades above the ground; in the starting and stopping phases of the turbine, do not go near the helicopter; always proceed in a curved position and very carefully; never touch the helicopter.

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