Our week: head injury, broken nose and febrile seizure

Thank goodness this week is over!

After teaching several classes my wife also had to practice her skills in the real world. Within the last 6 days we had to deal with a smashed face which included a broken nose, a 7 month old baby having a febrile seizure which lasted over 20 minutes and to top it up a suspected broken finger.

It all started on Monday when my wife and two of her friends met to check out one of the local secondary schools. One of the girls got delayed with the school run. So she ran towards the car where my wife and the other friend waited.

As she almost reached the car her heels slipped on the footpath (thanks to the gravel). She tried to hold onto the car but didn’t get a grip. Instead she went down face first and skidded on the gravel.

They got out of the car and there was blood everywhere. As you can imagine this scene attracted some local attention including some passing Garda who offered her to bring her to hospital.

Instead Siobhan took over. Well equipped with our First Aid kit in our car she cleaned her up as much as she could and drove her to our house. There an icepack was immediately applied and some more cleaning up carried out.

After about an hour, plenty of coffee and reassurance that she didn’t look “too bad” the girls brought her home. One of the last things Siobhan mentioned to her was to keep an eye on  the swelling of her face, headaches, drowsiness and potential vomiting. If in any doubt she should go to the hospital.

At 11pm that night we got a text saying that she was admitted to casualty with a broken nose and suspected head injury as the doctor thought spinal fluid came out of her nose.

After a CT scan it showed there was no apparent skull fracture.

So what did we learn:

  • never ever underestimate a facial injury
  • also monitor for signs of head injuries, i.e. dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, vomiting, fluid exiting from nostrils or ears
  • apply an icepack to minimise swelling
  • if in any doubt attend an A&E department
  • attend one of our Basic First Aid courses which we hold in Dublin every month and be prepared

Our next call of duty came on Wednesday afternoon. Our children were just in the door after returning from an Easter camp. They all sat quietly on the kitchen table (quietly doesn’t happen very often in our house) when the phone rang.

A friend of ours who has also 4 children asked – surprisingly calm – for some First Aid advice for her 7 months old baby who was twitching and became very floppy.

Siobhan ran out of the house and just shouted to me “the baby is having a seizure”.

And she was right. As it turned out the little boy had a bit of the temperature that morning and wasn’t himself. Out of the blue he had a febrile convulsion.

Siobhan timed the event from the second she got the call from the mother. As the seizure lasted for more than 5 minutes she decided to call an ambulance.

The ambulance station is only down the road so the wait was short enough. However when the paramedics arrived the baby had an oxygen saturation of less than 50% (you and I have at least 95%).They administed anti convulsion medication via the nose. Mother and child were brought to hospital for tests and observations.

Thankfully it turned out to be related to the temperature and nothing sinister was found. They were discharged the next morning.

You can read the mother’s own account of what happened on our Facebook page.

What do you take from this story?

  • if your child has a temperature monitor it closely
  • young children can’t express themselves and can take a turn for the worst very quickly
  • a febrile convulsion can be life threatening if you don’t intervene
  • if the seizure lasts for more the  5 minutes call an ambulance
  • attend one of our Paediatric First Aid courses in Dublin and be prepared

The third event of the week was at a local holiday camp for children. One of the children fell backwards and hurt her fingers. One of the leaders asked Siobhan to have a look “just in case”. They were sore but the child was not in any apparent distress.

Siobhan taped the fingers together to give them support and applied an ice pack to reduce the swelling. She told her mum to keep an eye on the swelling and if in any doubt to go to hospital to get an xray done.

As the pain and swelling did not ease after 3 days the mother brought her to Casualty. The xray revealed that one the fingers had a hairline fracture – which is very common in children as their bones are still relatively soft.

Even though this was the most minor incident this week you can still learn something from it.

It’s called RICE – the classic treatment for sprains and strains.

R – rest

I – ice

C – compression

E – elevation

If you are interested in learning more essential First Aid techniques then come and join us at one of our 1 day First Aid courses in Bewleys Hotel Newlands Cross, Dublin.

This week has proven one more time why we always teach “it’s better to know First Aid and not need it than to need it and not know it”

You never know when you will be asked to perform First Aid on a family member or friend!