In a trauma situation, it may be difficult to assess at first evaluation the extent of injuries to the cervical spine. The neck should be immobilized until x-rays are taken and reviewed by a physician. Emergency medical personnel will assume that an unconscious individual has a neck injury and respond accordingly.
At the accident scene, first check vital signs, including the patient’s consciousness, ability to breathe, and heart rate. After these are stabilized, workers will assess obvious bleeding and limb-deforming injuries. Once the trauma team has stabilized all other life-threatening injuries, the doctor can evaluate the injury.
Before moving the patient from the scene, you must immobilize the patient in a cervical (neck) collar and backboard. The trauma team will perform a complete and thorough evaluation in the hospital emergency room.