tv // lbd // shoulder touch

Fic (medical) question

So the whole "don't go to sleep if you have a concussion/suspect you have a concussion"... is that actual medical advice with rationale, or just an old wives tale?

Yes, I'm beating up on characters again.

*sighs happily at her background*
  • Current Mood: okay okay
Actual medical advice until the person is assessed in a hospital, with MRI, etc. I don't remember the specifics of why, but it's been taught in every first aid class I've ever attended, be it a brief overview or advanced. Don't let people with a head injury sleep or they may never wake up. The brain can swell after a head injury, and the effects of a concussion can get much worse over time.

Furthermore, I have a friend who was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance (he was bleeding to death from a really nasty stomach ulcer; his next-door-neighbor found him face-down on the floor of his garage in a pool of blood) and the EMT's told him, "Hey, stay with us, M! I'm afraid if we let you sleep we'll lose you! Come on, buddy, stay with us!" over and over, so it may be for other reasons as well. My thinking is that when you sleep/pass out your metabolic rate drops and that has some sort of bad effect. *shrugs* This kind of thing does lend itself to all sorts of cliched scenes in the movies and fiction, of course, but I think it's based on fact, or at least on common beliefs among medical people.

I also know for a fact that people who work in hospitals firmly believe that attitude and the willingness to "fight" makes a big difference in who survives and who doesn't, and that attitude seems to be more firmly entrenched depending on how much time they've spent working in some sort of critical care area. Perhaps the "fight for your life" effect is stronger if you're awake, at least for short-term things like injuries?

Obviously the last is pure speculation on my part, and I am not a medical professional.
Thanks Ly :)

My character's taken a whack to the head and doesn't have access to any professional emergency medicine for the foreseeable future (heh. that's actually a pun.), but has no doubt been injured like this before. I'm just trying to figure out if the "don't sleep, or..." should factor into it.
Well, you knew I had to comment. I think the driving factor behind keeping someone 'awake' after a head injury is to mainly have someone checking on that person every so often to assess for deterioration in their condition. It isn't necessary and even if someone does fall asleep, you just wake them up. Here's a couple of sites: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/head_injury.html
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Head_injury_home_care_tips?Open
And of course, it does all depend on the severity of the head injury and what adds more drama to your story. :-)