Broken Bones: What to Do In An Emergency
Treat all doubtful cases of injured bones as if they are broken. Do not move the casualty unless it is absolutely necessary. Telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance. In the case of a broken arm, it might be reasonable to take the person to hospital in a car.
Deal with any failure to breathe, unconsciousness, or severe bleeding, before doing anything to the broken bone.
Put the casualty in the most comfortable position possible, and provide support for the injured limb with a rolled-up blanket or coat, or with cushions.
Do not move the injured part unnecessarily.
If the ambulance is delayed, or you have to take the person to hospital yourself, the injured limb will need to be immobilised. The simplest way is to secure it to an uninjured part of the body with bandages.
Supporting a broken arm
1. If the arm will bend easily, place it across the chest and put some padding between the site of the injury and the body. Do not bend the arm by force. Strap it to the body in the most comfortable position while you wait for an ambulance.
2. Improvise a sling from a large scarf or other piece of material about 1 m (3ft) square, folded diagonally into a triangle.
3. Tie the ends of the sling in the hollow above the collarbone on the injured side. The hand should be just above elbow level.
4. Then strap the arm to the body with a piece of wide material around arm and chest. A tea towel folded diagonally, or a scarf, should do. Tie it on the uninjured side of the body.
Securing an arm that will not bend
Lay the casualty down in the most comfortable position. Put padding between the injury and the body, and strap the arm to the body with three pieces of wide material. Avoid the fractured spot.
Supporting a broken leg
1. A broken leg can be immobilised by bandaging it to the other leg. Move the uninjured leg to it, and put padding in between the two legs, especially at the knees and ankles.
2. Tie the two feet together with a scarf or necktie in a figure of eight. Tie the knot against the outer edge of the shoe on the uninjured leg.
3. Tie the knees together with a wide piece of material knotted on the uninjured side. Tie extra bandages above and below the site of the injury.