Doctors have a unique ability to influence public opinion in ways that no one else can. After all, people trust their doctors to look out for their health and welfare. If a doctor says such and such is not healthy, patients are inclined to believe it. If a doctor recommends doing this or not doing that, patients tend to respond.
In light of the influence they possess, doctors really should promote first aid training among the general public. The thing is that first aid is not a matter of infringing on a doctor's territory. It is about rendering emergency medical treatment when a doctor is not around. Sometimes first aid is a matter of life and death.
If you are a doctor, here's why you should be promoting first aid training:
First Aid Saves Lives
At the very top of the list is the reality that first aid saves lives. According to the British Red Cross, up to 59% of all deaths resulting from serious injury could have been prevented had first aid been rendered prior to emergency services arriving. Unfortunately, the British Red Cross also estimates that just 5% of the adult population would know what to do in the event of an emergency situation requiring first aid.
One of the concerns doctors have about first aid is the very real possibility of improperly administered aid making a bad situation worse. It is a legitimate concern. However, when the only other option is letting an injured person die, it's well worth taking the risk to render first aid.
Unnecessary Hospital Visits Are Reduced
Doctors should be promoting first aid training because it can reduce unnecessary hospital visits. The fact is that not every accident or illness requires medical attention at the hospital. Minor injuries can be treated with basic first aid and left at that. If more people knew basic first aid, it is quite likely that accident and emergency departments would be less crowded.
First Aid Can Prevent More Serious Injury
Even when an injury or illness does require a hospital visit, first aid can prevent a more serious situation from developing. That's one of the reasons police officers and firefighters are trained in basic first aid. It's why they carry first aid kit bags for initial responders in their vehicles.
If basic first aid rendered by first responders can prevent more serious injury, the same aid rendered by average citizens can do the same thing. It is just a matter of undergoing proper training.
First Aid Reduces Recovery Times
The simple act of preventing more serious injuries has a wonderful side effect: it tends to reduce recovery times. This makes sense given the fact that treating an injury or illness as soon as possible allows the healing process to start more quickly. This is yet another good reason to encourage people to take first aid training.
Reducing Pain and Discomfort
Pain and discomfort are often part and parcel with emergency situations requiring first aid. What many people do not know is that pain and discomfort are more than just sensory issues. They can make a serious situation even worse. How? By increasing a victim's stress level and possibly contributing to shock.
If you are not aware, shock is a medical condition characterised by a sudden drop in blood flow throughout the body. Without adequate blood flow, body tissues do not get enough oxygen. It can lead to kidney damage, brain damage, and even death.
Properly rendered first aid can reduce pain and discomfort to some degree. To the extent it can, it can also reduce anxiety and lessen the chances of a patient going into shock. As an added bonus, reducing the pain and discomfort a patient is experiencing can also relieve some of the anxiety onlookers might be dealing with.
First Aid Can Help Emergency Services
Often times, emergency services personnel do not know what they are getting into when they arrive on the scene. The time it takes to figure things out could be critical minutes that really shouldn't be wasted. Another benefit of first aid training is that it can help emergency services by making them immediately aware of the situation upon arrival.
For example, a person trained in first aid and administering CPR can tell initial responders exactly what has happened thus far. As the patient is transferred to the care of the emergency services personnel, no time is lost trying to understand what happened. This could mean the difference between life and death for a patient in cardiac arrest.
One Final Word
People have been learning basic first aid skills for generations. Even before any of us were born, first aid was practised by people willing to get involved during emergency situations. And in countless cases, it has proved to be a game-changer. The value of first aid is backed by a mountain of evidence – both scientific and anecdotal.