Assessment and treatment of the acutely ill adult
Read Chapter 2 of the Lothian Adult Medical Emergencies Handbook
This details the approach which the immediate responder should adopt. This could be any of us and some of the concepts are explored here.
'Advanced first aid'
A = Airway assess and manage
B = Breathing assess and manage + O2 therapy
C = Circulation assess and manage + IV access & blood tests
D = Disability assessment (what's the glucose ?)
E = Evidence, environment, examination (targeted)
F = Frequent re-assessment and establish monitoring
As you walk up to the patient and introduce yourself shake hands and ask "how are you doing ? " Immediately (ie within 5 seconds) you will have assessed airway (they can/can't talk, noises eg stridor, snoring/gurgling, none), breathing (rate, symmetry, work of breathing: accessory muscle use, paradoxical or see-saw pattern), circulation (warm/cold peripheries) and conscious level (their response to you). In this short time you should be thinking " can I take some time to assess or should I ?"
a) start treatment
b) call for help
c) both a and b