If you are in a remote location or other situation where someone is injured and there are hardly any emergency services or first aid kits available, the injured patient may need to be taken to safety or for treatment. While it may seem difficult, if you are accompanied by another person, there are several ways to carry an injured patient who is conscious or unconscious. Using some of these methods, you can help or even save an injured patient. Don't forget to use the correct lifting technique when lifting an injured patient: lift with your feet, not your back.
Method 1 of 2: Using Human Crutches
Step 1. Check if the patient has a neck or back injury
Do not try to move a patient who has a possible neck or back injury. Assume the patient has both injuries if:
- The patient complains of pain in the neck or back
- Injuries are caused by a strong force on the back or head.
- Patients complain of weakness, numbness or paralysis or loss of control of limbs, bladder, or bowels.
- The patient's back or neck is twisted or in an inappropriate position.
Step 2. Let the patient lie on the ground
First, let the patient lie on the ground while you and your partner position yourself to make human crutches. This will ensure that the patient is not dropped or further injured while changing positions to perform the appropriate technique.
Step 3. Set your body in the correct position
You and your partner should stand on either side of the patient's chest and face each other. Ensure that your position is correct to minimize the risk of the patient falling or further injury.
- Each rescuer should hold the patient's wrist with the hand closest to the foot. Make sure you only do this next to the patient.
- You and your partner's free hand should grip the patient's nearest clothing or shoulder.
Step 4. Pull the patient into a sitting position
When you and your partner have a firm grip on the patient, pull him into a sitting position. Do it slowly so that the patient is not pushed accidentally or you lose your grip.
- Elevating the patient from a sitting position slowly will give the patient's circulatory system a chance to stabilize itself, especially after lying on the ground. This can prevent dizziness that can occur from a fall.
- If the patient is unconscious, examine the patient orally to ensure that the patient is stable or that there is no pain.
- Allow the patient to sit for a few minutes before moving to a standing position. At this point, inform the patient that he or she will be moved to a safe place.
Step 5. Help the injured patient to stand
When the patient is ready and willing, help him or her to stand. If not, raise the patient to standing by grasping the clothing.
- Allow as much time as possible for the patient to try to stand, as long as there is no immediate danger. Like sitting, this will help the patient stabilize his blood pressure and prevent accidental falls.
- If the patient is unable to keep one or both feet, you may need to provide support. Remove the center of gravity as much as possible from the patient's feet. When you start moving the patient, this can add extra security while helping the patient.
Step 6. Wrap your arms around the patient's waist
When the patient is standing, place the hands around the patient's waist. When the patient is about to be moved, this can add extra safety while assisting the patient.
If the patient is unconscious, grasp the belt or waist circumference of the patient's pants. Pull slightly to elevate the patient's upper body
Step 7. Place the patient's arm over your shoulder
Squat slightly and place the patient's arm on your and partner's shoulders. You, your partner, and the patient should be facing the same direction.
- Rescuers must use their feet to stand with the patient. Make sure you do it slowly to maintain grip stability.
- Try asking the patient his condition and readiness to move.
- Do not force the patient to stand up immediately. Give him as much time as possible.
Step 8. Move with the patient
Once everyone is standing and facing the same direction, you are ready to move. Make sure you check readiness by asking the patient or partner if the patient is unconscious. Thus, patients falling or being pushed can not only be prevented, but the transfer of patients from the accident site will be more effective.
- The patient's feet are dragged behind you and your partner.
- Make sure you move slowly and unhurriedly when dragging the patient to ensure safety.
Method 2 of 2: Applying Alternative Displacement Method
Step 1. Improvise to move the patient
If the patient is unconscious or unstable, construct a stretcher to carry the patient. You can use two poles or several blankets or improvise with existing materials.
- Find two sturdy posts, tree branches, or other long, straight objects and place them parallel to the ground.
- Take a cloth that is about three times the size of the stretcher you are going to make and lay it on the ground. Lay the pole on the length of the fabric, then fold the fabric over the pole.
- Set up the other pole on top of two pieces of cloth, and leave enough room for the patient and enough cloth to fold over this second pole.
- Fold the fabric over the pole so that at least 2 inches (5 cm) of fabric wraps around the second pole. Take the remaining fabric and fold it back over the posts.
- If you don't have a large cloth or blanket, use a t-shirt, jacket, or other available fabric. Do not wear your clothes if it will hinder your assistance to the patient.
- Check the safety of your stretcher in advance so the patient will not fall.
Step 2. Make a stretcher using four hands
If materials are not available to make a stretcher, use both your and your partner's hands to carry the patient. This will stabilize the patient's position, especially if the patient is unconscious.
- The patient should be on the ground and the rescuer closest to the patient should place their hands under the patient's head to support him.
- Grasp the other rescuer's hand under the patient's chest, approximately at the level of the lower sternum. Rescuers must interlock arms to stabilize support.
- The rescuer closest to the patient's feet should place their hands under the patient's feet.
- Squat down and slowly lift the patient and then move.
Step 3. Bring the patient in a chair
If available, use a chair to carry the patient. This method is quite effective if you and your partner have to climb stairs or walk on narrow and uneven paths.
- Lift the patient into a chair or allow the patient to sit alone if able.
- The rescuer standing at the head of the chair should grasp the chair from the back of the chair with the palms facing in.
- From here, the helper at the head of the chair can tilt the chair onto its back legs.
- The second rescuer should face the patient and grasp the legs of the chair.
- If the distance to be covered is long enough, you and your partner must separate the patient's legs and lift the chair by squatting and rising.
Step 4. Make a chair from your hands
If there are no seats available, you and your partner can make chairs from your hands. Patients can be moved with two or four armchairs.
Two-handed chairs are most useful for carrying patients over long distances or supporting an unconscious patient.
- Squat on both sides of the patient. Tuck one hand under the patient's shoulder, resting your hand on the partner's shoulder. Tuck the other hand under the patient's knee and grasp the parter's wrist. Or, you can make "hooks" out of your hands by bending your fingers toward your palms, then clasping your hands together.
- Squat down and lift the patient with your legs and keep your back straight. After that, move forward.
- Four armchairs are most useful for carrying a conscious patient.
- You and your partner should hold each other's wrists. The partner grips your left wrist with your right hand, and you grip your right wrist with your left. Your right hand should grip your partner's left wrist, and your partner's left hand should grip his or her right wrist. Your hands should form a square when interlocking this way.
- Lower this chair so that the patient can sit on it. Make sure you lower the chair with your feet to maximize stability and minimize the risk of injury. Have the patient place his or her hand on the rescuer's shoulder.
- Stand on your feet and keep your back straight.
- Evaluate you and your partner's strengths and weaknesses. You may only be able to use one of the methods above. Keep trying until you find the method that best suits your situation.
- Make sure you take the closest and most open route to get the patient to safety.
- Practice this technique at home so that you are familiar with when you have to help someone in an emergency.
- Sometimes, one person is more efficient at helping an unconscious patient. This will reduce the risk of further internal damage/impact injury or back injury.