What would you do if a member of your family was severely cut and bleeding? Suppose you and another person, in taking a walk, were to find a man who was unconscious, apparently as the result of some accident. Your companion goes to the nearest place for help. What can you do in the meantime?
What would you do in case somebody in your family came rushing in with the horrifying announcement that he had accidentally poisoned himself?
Can you honestly answer these questions and be perfectly certain that you are doing the right thing? It would seem to be far more fundamental to know these things than it would be to speak French or to play the piano or to have read the latest book so that it can be discussed. Most people have a vague idea about all of them, but let’s get it definite.
The best book that I know on the subject is called “First Aid for Boys,” by Dr. Norman B. Cole and Clayton H. Ernst, published by D. Appleton and Company; price $1.50.
In this book there is an illustration which is useful to help people to remember the important symptoms which should be observed in the presence of an accident.
The thumb is consciousnesswhether the patient is conscious or not. In head injuries, concussions, skull fractures, apoplexy, severe alcoholic intoxication, or sunstroke, the consciousness is usually dull or absent. In ordinary exhaustion or shock from a severe jolt of the whole body, or hemorrhage, consciousness is seldom absentit may be very much lowered.
The index finger represents color. In concussion, apoplexy, or sun-stroke, it may be flushed. In shock, fainting or exhaustionpale.
The middle finger represents breathing. The normal rate of breathing is about 16 to the minute. With head injuries and heat stroke, the breathing is heavy, noisy and perhaps slow. In fainting and exhaustion it is shallow and rapid.
The ring finger represents the pulse. It can easily be felt at the wrist with a little practice, and should be going at about a rate of 72 a minute. With a person unconscious or semi-conscious the rate of the pulse is a very valuable sign of the seriousness of the condition. If markedly off normal, either rapid above 100, or slow below 50, it indicates a serious condition. One is able to differentiate hysteria and faking from the real thing in this way.
The little finger represents the temperature. This may be deter-mined in a rough way simply by feeling the patient, and is also a good indication of the seriousness of the condition. Cold, clammy skin or dry, hot skin indicates that there is organic trouble present.