MedicCast Episode 254

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Tip This Week- EMS Review on Initial Assessment, Part 1

The very first thing an emergency medical service provider should do when responding to a call is assessment. Patient outcomes are highly affected with how well the provider does his assessment and his decision making. For new EMS providers on the field, it takes a keen observation and focus to be able to perform a clear assessment amidst all the stress, tension and anxiety happening around him.

Here are some of the important things to look at in performing an initial assessment:

A- Airway

  • no airway
  • snoring
  • gurgling
  • vomiting
  • blood in the airway

B- Breathing

  • no breathing
  • wheezing
  • labored breathing
  • use of accessory muscles
  • retractions
  • open hole in chest

C- Circulation

  • pulses
  • perfusion
  • capillary refill

D- Disability or Mental Function

  • level of consciousness
  • GCS
  • consider presence of cervical spine injury
  • A- alert, awake, aware of person, place and time
  • V- responsive to verbal stimuli
  • P- responsive to painful stimuli
  • U- unconscious, unresponsive to stimuli

For a more detailed review on initial assessment methods, follow the resources provided below

Dan Limmer Handouts for EMS

Initial Assessment

Assessment Tips for New Providers on the Field


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Song this week: Mercury in Summer with “No I Won’t Let You Go”

Mercury in Summer - Can You Feel It? - No I Won't Let You Go

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Until next time, Scene safety, BSI!

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