A sudden fall from a height or a collision with a moving object like a vehicle can cause a fracture of the bone. Fractures are of three kinds: (I) green where a fissure develops in the bone without its pieces being separated from each other; (ii) simple where the bone breaks into two; and (iii) compound where the fractured part is a mass of broken pieces of bone.

Green fractures are easy to deal with, though only an X-ray examination can reveal the presence of a green fracture. Primary symptoms are: pain, swelling and the inability of the individual to use the affected part. If you have stubbed your toe or some heavy objects has fallen on your foot, it may develop a green fracture. There will be swelling and pain and you will be unable to put any weight on the foot. The first step to take in such a case is to give the affected foot complete rest. If there is a swelling, it should be bound lightly with a piece of cloth before the patient is moved to hospital for examination and treatment.


A fracture becomes apparent immediately. The affected bone will be distorted and a swelling will appear. The person suffering from a fracture should be laid on the ground or a bed, if one is available, and then the bone should be straightened. Splints pieces of bamboo or pieces or a walking stick should be bound around the length of the bone to keep it straight.

If a point is dislocated, severe pain is felt around the site of the dislocation, there is inflammation and there is no movement. In such a case, the patient should be taken to the hospital for expert advice and treatment by an orthopedic surgeon should be sought.

The most serious fracture is that of the vertebral column which is fatal in a majority of cases. In case of an injury to the spine, the patient should be moved only by experts because a jarring of the vertebrae may snap the whole column and the patient may die suddenly. In case of severe injury to the spinal column, the patient loses the ability to move his legs. In the case of a road accident victim, those who seek to remove him to hospital should first ascertain if the patient is conscious and whether he can move his lower limbs. He should be lifted only if the legs are capable of movement. If they are not, a stretcher should be placed alongside and he should be gently rolled on to it, taking care not to put any pressure on the spine. A person with a spinal injury should never be jarred or jolted while being carried.


An injured person may bleed profusely from a wound but sometimes the wound is internal and not visible to the eye and the fact that the hemorrhage is internal may be more serious and less

Amendable to first aid. The only thing that can be done by an untrained person is to recognize the seriousness of the condition. In most cases of internal bleeding, the pulse beat becomes rapid and thready and the blood pressure falls gradually till the patient loses consciousness and dies.

The pulse count which should be 72 to 80 per minute in a normal person will keep increasing if there is internal bleeding. If it increases gradually and the pulse beat becomes thready and weak, the patient must get immediate medical aid to save his life. Before the doctor arrives or the patient reaches hospital, he should be made to lie quietly and should not be permitted to talk. He may be given a little cold water to sip or an ice cube to suck; nothing else should be given to him. Alcohol should not be given in any form, since it is likely to mask the symptoms making it difficult for the doctor to diagnose the problem.

Extreme care should be taken in case of head injuries. The cardinal symptom to look for in a brain damage resulting from a head injury is the state of the eyes. The eyeballs get out of alignment, i.e. the patient becomes cross-eyed and may also lose the power of speech.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 21, 1987