Medical Emergencies

Medical emergencies are defined as situations requiring immediate or emergency medical treatment due to an illness or other medical condition. Medical emergencies can be life threatening or result in long term effects on the person.

How to Handle a Medical Emergency

             STAY CALM!

  • Always call 911 FIRST, and immediately follow that call with a call to campus security. Tell the 911 operator the nature of the emergency, your name, your building name , and your telephone number. Stay on the line.
  • Send someone to meet emergency first responders so they can bring them to the emergency location.
  • Use your cellular telephone speaker phone. Listen for instructions or coaching from the 911 operator. NEVER move an injured person unless leaving them there is a life threatening situation. Moving an injured person can cause more harm or injury to that person.

Even if you are not trained to handle an emergency or know first aid, there are things you can do that might save someone’s life or keep them from injuring themselves further.


If someone experiences light headedness or has fainted have them lay horizontally on the floor or ground. This reduces the risk of them falling down leading to possible head injuries or broken bones.


If you are concerned about exposure to body fluids or blood borne pathogens, you can wear personal protective equipment or use latex or rubber gloves if available. If latex or rubber gloves are not available find a plastic bag or piece of plastic wrap to cover the wound. Never put your health or that of others at risk.

First, locate the source of the bleed. You may have to remove clothing from the victim to find the source of bleeding.

Second, apply direct and heavy/firm pressure to the source of bleeding. Maintain pressure on the wound until medical authorities arrive or treat the patient.

Third, if bleeding continues you may have to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. A tourniquet should be applied approximately two inches above the wound until it compresses the artery and the bleeding stops. A belt, piece of cord or nylon strap, a scarf, or bungee cord can all be used as a tourniquet.


Put the person on the ground or floor. Surround the person with pillows or padding. It is important to protect the person’s head as seizures are powerful and can harm a person’s head and neck.

After the seizure ends, place the person on their side so the airway remains open. This is called the “recovery position.” After a seizure, the tongue can be limp and sometimes block the airway. Keeping the person on their side prevents this.

Heart Attack

If someone displays the signs of a heart attack i.e., chest pain, arm numbness, jaw pain, nausea, shortness of breath, or experiences the sensation of pressure on the chest, they could be having a heart attack. Get them to sit down and rest. Exertion can make the condition worse. If aspirin is available have them CHEW 325 mg of aspirin, or four tablets of low dosage aspirin. Chewing the aspirin will get it in the bloodstream faster than swallowing it.


Strokes are caused basically by blood clots to the brain. The acronym FAST is used to identify the symptoms of a stroke. “F” represents facial drooping. “A” represents weakness in the arm or arms. “S” represents slurred speech or difficulty with speaking. “T” represents it’s time to call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if anyone of these symptoms are present.

Cardiac Arrest

If someone’s heart has stopped beating start cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. A good general rule to follow is if someone is unconscious or unresponsive call 911 and campus security. While waiting on their arrival, ask if anyone is trained in CPR, so that they can administer it. Coaches, Security, and athletic trainers go through periodic CPR training and are qualified to administer.

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