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December 2011
Emergency care during drink-and-drive accidents
Dr. Priyadarshini Pal Singh
we shall all enter a brand new year in the next couple of days.Obviously, you’re all gung-ho about the New Year party you have been invited to! The trendy dress you’re going to wear; the lounge you’re going to go to; the friend’s house you’re going to hang out at.

Someone will have had a drink too many, and will not think twice before hitting the road. You’ll sit around watching him totter to the door, and the next thing you know is that he has had an accident. Bad dream? The truth actually. Drunk drivers are a risk to themselves and to others. You cannot just sit around and watch. So what do you do when such an accident happens?

We recommend that
  • You prevent such people from driving in the first place
  • In case an accident happens, you dial emergency numbers straightaway for help (ambulance /medical help and police)
  • You assess responsiveness of victim
  • You check if the victim is breathing and has a pulse
  • You start Basic Life Support if needed
  • You evacuate the accident site, and take the victim to the nearest medical centre
What you can do for yourself
  • Know your limit; and how much intoxication you will be able to handle
  • Eat while drinking to decrease alcohol absorption by the body
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with drugs
  • Avoid driving after drinking

Alcohol consumption and consequent problems are major global public health concerns. You see, alcohol impairs cognitive and psychomotor abilities, and thus increases the risk of accidental or deliberate injuries such as traffic accidents, fire and burns, poisoning, and so on. In low concentrations, alcohol reduces inhibitions and shyness. But very high concentrations (more than 0.35gm/100 ml of blood) can result in a person becoming comatose and dying.

Dr. Priyadarshini Pal Singh is a Head, Dept. of Accident and Emergency Apollo Indraprastha Hospitals, New Delhi

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