Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level 3 (VTQ)

117 videos, 6 hours and 42 minutes

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Ligature Injuries

Video 116 of 117
7 min 11 sec
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Dealing with Ligature Injuries: A Comprehensive Guide


Ensuring Safety and Effective Handling of Ligature Injuries

Understanding Ligature Injuries

Causes and Initial Assessment

When dealing with ligature injuries, it's crucial to prioritize safety and follow proper procedures:

  • Ligature Injury Causes: Identify whether the injury resulted from self-harm or a hanging incident.
  • Police and Forensics: Determination of the cause is not a medic's decision; it's a matter for law enforcement and forensics.

Assessing Patient Viability

Determining the Patient's Condition

Upon arriving at the scene, assess the patient's viability:

  • Viable or Non-Viable: Determine if there's a possibility to resuscitate the patient based on signs such as rigour mortis, blood pooling, and temperature.
  • Crime Scene Preservation: If the patient is non-viable, treat the area as a crime scene and avoid contamination.

Handling a Viable Patient

Proper Procedures for Patient Rescue

If the patient is viable, act promptly while maintaining patient safety:

  • Secure the Scene: Cut the patient down and ensure safety.
  • Ligature Removal: Safely cut the rope, leaving the knot intact for forensic examination.
  • Airway Management: Open the patient's airway as a priority.
  • Focus on Resuscitation: Begin resuscitation if necessary.
  • Signs and Symptoms: Look for signs like neck bruising and blood pooling.
  • Spinal Injury: While spinal cord injuries are a concern, initial focus is on resuscitation.

Understanding Ligature Mechanics

Insight into the Impact on the Body

Delve into the mechanics of ligature injuries and their consequences:

  • Spinal Cord Damage: Ligatures aim to snap the axis, instantly severing the spinal cord between C3 and C5, impacting breathing.
  • Pressure on Airways: Ligatures can also compress the trachea and oesophagus, cutting off airflow and causing suffocation.


Priority on Safety and Quick Response

In summary, when dealing with ligature injuries, safety is paramount. Act swiftly to rescue viable patients, ensuring proper airway management and resuscitation. Preserve forensic evidence in non-viable cases and involve law enforcement. Understanding the mechanics of ligature injuries aids in effective response.