If you see someone experience a fall from a significant height, such as the three children who recently fell from a bounce house swept away by the wind, do not risk further injury by moving the victim, says an emergency medicine physician.
Joseph Garber, MD, director of emergency medical services at Syosset Hospital says that in instances such as the accident in upstate New York, in which the kids fell about 15 feet, the victims can suffer broken bones and other traumas and moving them could do more harm than good.
“With falls from a standing height, you would expect scrapes, scratches, possibly a laceration, and it is unusual, but sometimes broken bones,” Dr. Garber said. “From that height [of 15 feet], you can get much more severe injuries: multiple fractures, multiple broken bones, head injury, brain injury and, unfortunately, sometimes even death from those heights.”
Dr. Garber says if the person is in danger of further injury, such as a collapsing structure or fire, it is best to move that person out of harm’s way. If you need to move a person in that situation, Dr. Garber says try to stabilize their neck and then once you have both cleared that danger, lay the person on the ground with their head up and hold onto the person’s neck so it doesn’t move.