Spinal Cord Injury
Ray A. Hargrove-Huttel, PhD, RN
At the Scene
All of Jonathan's friends are standing around him, unsure about what to do. They are afraid that he is badly hurt. Jonathan thinks it is just a temporary sting and states that he will be all right in a few minutes. One of the men calls 911 on a cell phone.
What should Jonathan's friends do while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive?
A) Help Jonathan move his legs and assist him to sit up.
No one should help Jonathan move his legs or assist him.
B) Place a blanket over Jonathan and make sure no one moves him.
Any movement or improper handling could cause further damage and loss of neurological function.
C) Attempt to stabilize his neck with any type of soft material.
Any attempt to manipulate the neck could cause further damage and loss of neurological function.
D) Carefully put Jonathan in the back of a truck with one man holding his neck.
Any action that manipulates the neck could cause further damage and loss of neurological function.
Correct answer(s): B
An ambulance arrives within a few minutes. Two paramedics and an Emergency Department (ED) nurse on a "ride-along" quickly take control of the situation. The nurse assists the paramedics as they prepare Jonathan for transport to the trauma center.
If respiratory compromise occurs, what action should the nurse take to keep the airway open without compromising Jonathan's spine further?
A) Logroll to side while maintaining neutral alignment.
This action would be used to move an injured person from a prone position to supine if respiratory compromise occurs. It is not the best way to open the airway of a person who is already in the supine position.
B) Perform the jaw-thrust technique.
The jaw-thrust is the safest first approach to opening the airway of a casualty who has a suspected neck injury because in most cases it...