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Careers: EMT/Emergency Medical Technicians/What would be the emergency medical response procedure in this situation?


Hi there,

I'm writing a scene in a book where my main character needs emergency medical help.

To outline: she was thrown across her hallway into a wall mirror, which smashed, and she has a large piece of it protruding from her abdomen. It's about 4-5 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, about half of this width is in her body and the rest is sticking out.

She also has a clean cut, not wide and not too deep (still enough to drip blood on the floor), a couple of inches long, across her forehead. She's home alone by this point so she crawls along the floor to get to the nearest phone and calls an ambulance. Gives all her address and name details etc, but passes out before the crew arrives. She starts waking up when they get to her but is very lethargic.

My main questions are:

1. What is the procedure for the crew as soon as they arrive? I'm assuming they are allowed to touch her even though she is unconscious? (She wakes up when she feels their touch)

2. What do they do about her abdomen wound? What might her injuries from this be - would any organs be at risk?

3. Would she likely be in shock? If so, when during the timeline and what does shock look like?

4. What would they do about her head wound and would they give her any oxygen?

Sorry for the amount of questions... Thanks in advance!

Hello Zani,

When EMS arrives they would have to gain entry. If teh door is locked they would have to have Fire or Police on scene (unless they could clearly see her from a closed window and felt there was an immediate life threat.. in this case; an unconscious woman bleeding on the floor would be reason for EMS to kick the door in themselves). After they arrived at her side they would assess her for breathing, pulse and any hidden wounds. EMS would likely cut her clothes off to look for hidden wounds and to see exactly what wounds they were dealing with. We don't generally remove objects that are impaled in a patient so the piece of glass would be held in place with bulky dressings or clean blankets from the ambulance and held in place with gauze or 3 inch wide medical tape. The head wound would have a dressing placed on it and the head wrapped with gauze. The patient's name, date of birth and address would be written down and a full set of vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, level of consciousness, pain scale 1-10) would be taken every 5-10 minutes.

The abdomen contains mostly the intestines with the liver poking just below the ribs on the right side. It is likely she could have perforated the bowel which creates a serious problem with infection and needs to be looked at by a surgeon immediately.

She would likely be alert and able to talk to EMS. She would be in a lot of pain due to the abdominal wound which she may say feels like very intense pain all over her abdomen. She may want to keep her knees bent up to self splint her abdomen and bumps in the road may make the pain much worse.

I hope that was enough information. Good luck with your story.


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Marcus LaBarbera


I am available to answer most questions related to: first aid, pre- hospital medicine, EMT and Paramedic questions, CC-EMTP Course offered through UMBC, medical transport, critical care transport, ICU/CCU care, sedation, and medicine in general.


I have worked as a NYS Paramedic since 1993 for both community based ambulance companies and large commercial agencies. I Have experience as bike team commander, and shift supervisor for a commercial ambulance. As a member of the Disaster team I was deployed to Louisiana for 20 days following hurricane Katrina. I worked along side the county Haz-Mat team as a "Tox-Medic" with advanced training in treating injuries from chemical agents. Besides my experience on the on the ambulance I have worked in a number of hospital based offices including dialysis and a sleep lab.

I started my EMS career as a NYS CFR (Certified First Responder)in 1989, an EMT in 1991, a Paramedic since 1993, and a CCU transport paramedic since 2005. I currently hold certification as a: NYS Paramedic, Critical Care Transport Paramedic, ACLS/CPR/PALS certified. Advanced Haz-Mat Life Support certified (AHLS). In the past I have taught CPR and ACLS to my coworkers and the local community.

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