Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First Aid

At yesterday's rugby tournament in Apia Park a player on the opposing team got hit. Hard. And he was down for the count. It was on the other side of the field, so I could not tell if he wasn't moving because he was unconscious or because he couldn't move. I used the zoom lens on the camera to get a better look.

Several players and a coach and a ref finally rushed to his side (play had continued with out him and no one seemed to be too concerned for a good two-three minutes). At first I thought they were rolling him to his side to slip something under him to move him (the way you see on TV when people are injured). However, I quickly learned that it was a scavenging mission. While the player lay unconscious on the field, his teammates were stripping him of his shoes, socks and pads. A shoeless player put his shoes and socks on and ran to join the play still going on at the other goal.

I realized I was waiting for someone to show up. You know someone wearing a vest or uniform carrying a large case full of medical equipment and some sort of neck brace or backboard. Instead, the remaining players and coach appeared to sort of slap and pinch the unconscious player for about five minutes. The decision was made to remove him from the field and about eight people lifted him up and carried him off the field. He was a limp noodle. There was no concern for keeping his neck or back straight or protecting his head (other than to shield his closed eyes from the sun).

He was placed on the cement in the shade and surrounded by players, coaches and students. I was still waiting for the paramedics or an ambulance to arrive. Hadn't anyone called someone? Shouldn't medical professionals be here by now?

The crowd's medical treatment appeared to be to gently slap his legs and neck while fanning him and dumping water on him. At some point the secretary from Cale's school broke in to disperse some of the crowd and teenage girl located a cell phone and called someone.

By then he may have been awake in some way. He appeared to open his eyes, but his breathing was very rapid and he was shivering. I kept finding myself stepping closer to the scene overcome with a need to do something. Anything. I was thinking to myself, I know absolutely nothing about medical situations, but I know what you are doing isn't right. I had no credits on my phone and was pondering how I could contact the PC medical officer for advice when the truck arrived.

They loaded the player into the back of the pickup and took off, presumably for the hospital. I hope that he is ok and that it was just a concussion or he was just knocked out for a bit.

Cale says that just by having watched ER and the Discovery Health Channel most of the PC volunteers have more medical knowledge than the average Sāmoan. Which is possible. It still didn't put me in any position to do any good in this situation. Hell, I was 11 years old when I was last certified in CPR. I am not much help for anything.

— Sara

1 comment:

Barb Carusillo said...

Aren't you glad I didn't do sports PT...if I would have witnessed that kind of event time and again on the sidelines at work, you guys would never had played any sports. Maybe I would have let you play chess. (though of course, you are right,we do have a bit more medical help to draw on here)