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Alcohol Poisoning
Anaphylactic Shock
Back and Spinal Injury
Bleeding from the Head or Palm
Bleeding From Special Sites
Breathing Difficulties
Burns and Scalds
Chemical Burns and Eye Burns
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Controlling Bleeding from the Mouth and Nose
Crush Injuries
Drug Poisoning
Emergency Childbirth
Extreme Cold
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External Bleeding
Eye Wounds
Food Poisoning
Fractures of the Arm and Hand
Fractures, Dislocations and Soft Tissue Injuries
Fractures of the Ribcage
Fractures of the Skull Face and Jaw
Fractures of the Upper Body
Heart Problems
Injuries to the Lower Body
Injuries to the Lower Leg
Internal Bleeding
Poisoning from Household Chemicals
Poisoning from Industrial Chemicals
Sprains and Strains
Other Types of Burn
Unconscious Casualty
If You Have to Move the Casualty

Fractures of the Upper Body

The collarbone can be broken by direct impact. However, it is most commonly fractured by indirect force moving up the arm following a fall on to an outstretched hand, and often happens after a fall from a bicycle or a horse. A broken shoulder often follows a heavy impact to the site of injury. It is therefore important to do a careful examination to rule out back or rib injury.

Broken collarbone

Alongside potential swelling, bruising and tenderness above the site of the injury, the casualty is most likely to be supporting the injured arm, with the shoulder on the injured side slumped. As the collarbone is close to the skin it is particularly important to look for an open fracture.

Broken shoulder

If you are confident that the shoulder itself is broken then the treatment is to work with the casualty to find the best position. The application of an arm sling may provide some support, but more commonly the casualty will want no bandages, settling instead for steady support from another person if available. The pain of the injury may make it necessary to call for an ambulance rather than transporting the casualty to hospital in a car.

First Aid Treatment

If the bone has pierced the skin, place a light dressing over the wound. Bleeding is likely to be minimal and your main concern is to prevent infection.

Work with the injured person to find the most comfortable position for the arm and for the body as a whole. Generally this will be sitting up with the arm supported at the elbow. The casualty may wish to go to hospital in this position, but she should be offered the option of an elevation sling, which will help alleviate pressure on the collarbone and provide some comfort.

Applying an elevation sling

The elevation sling has a range of uses. As well as the treatment of a broken collarbone it also provides comfort in the treatment of crushed or broken fingers and hands, relief in the treatment of burns to the arm and is an aid in controlling bleeding through elevation.

  1. Place the injured arm with Ihe fingers by the collarbone on the uninjured side.
  2. Place the triangular bandage with the point resting at the elbow on the injured side.
  3. Tuck the bandage underneath the hand and down underneath the injured arm.
  4. Tie at the collarbone in a reef knot (or a bow).
  5. Fasten the spare material at the elbow with a pin, or twist it and tuck it away.
  6. Extra support can be gained by placing a triangular bandage folded into three (a broad fold) around the arm and body.

Do not give anything to eat or drink ­ the casualty may need a general anaesthetic in hospital.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.