Crush Injuries: Take it off, or leave it there?

First Aid and CPR Training Courses - Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington - FACT Co

Imagine finding yourself in the impossible position of having to decide whether to remove a crushing force from a crush injury victim, or whether to leave the object in place. 

For many years we have been taught to leave the crushing force in place to avoid toxic shock or crush syndrome; Crush syndrome results from disruption of the body’s chemistry and can result in kidney, heart and other problems.

In March of 2013 the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation (ANZCOR) released guideline 9.1.7 encouraging first aiders to remove the crushing force. This is a big change in first aid – one of several in the last few years. 

Emergency medicine and first responder best practice is always changing, for the better, and that will have an effect on how we do first aid. We can be assured that whenever a change is encouraged there is significant evidence to support it, leading to better outcomes for patients. 

Guideline 9.1.7 was updated in November 2019 and encourages the following management of a crushed victim:

If the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, follow ANZCOR Basic Life Support Flowchart (Guideline 8). 

  1. Ensure your safety and the safety of others 
  2. Call an ambulance 
  3. If it is safe to do so and physically possible, remove all crushing forces from the person as soon as possible
  4. Control any external bleeding  (Guideline 9.1.1) 
  5. Treat other injuries 
  6. Maintain body temperature (prevent hypothermia). 
  7. Reassure and constantly re-check the person’s condition for any deterioration 
  8. If the person is unconscious and breathing normally, follow ANZCOR Guideline 3

In short, remove the crushing force if you are able to safely do so

What else has changed since you last did a first aid course? Register for one of our courses today to find out!

All courses run from our training rooms: Unit 1 / 7 Burdale Street, Riccarton, Christchurch, 8011.