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When medical emergencies happen, it is quite common to see people who want to help, but don’t have the skills or knowledge to know what to do. JNRCS volunteer Sandi Barham is an exception to this story; she always seems to be the right person at the right time. Sandi has had the opportunity to use her first aid skills in a number of emergencies; here is just one story of her spirit and courage.
Earlier this year, Sandi was shopping with her Aunt in a market in Amman. The ladies were happily visiting jewellery stores when they noticed a large group of people gathering, and someone calling out “Call an ambulance, he is dying!” Without hesitation, she rushed to the scene.
Sandi found a man on the ground, shaking, and bleeding from the mouth. Nobody seemed to know what to do, so she identified herself as a first aider and took control of the situation. She started by ensuring the area was safe for both herself and the victim, making sure he was out of the way of any passing traffic. She asked a bystander to call Civil Defence, Jordan’s emergency ambulance provider.
She then addressed the issue of the bleeding. She asked a nearby shopkeeper for a plastic bag, so she could inspect the bleeding area without risking her own safety. Sandi identified that the bleeding was coming from his bitten tongue, and carefully monitored the man’s bleeding, airways and breathing. She moved him into the recovery position.
Whilst they were waiting for the ambulance, the man regained consciousness. He tried to get up and walk away, but Sandi knew that he needed to be properly checked at a hospital. She talked to the man calmly, encouraging him to sit back down and speak with her. She asked him questions such as what his name was, and where he lived, and if he had any medical conditions she should be aware of. She managed to keep him talking until the ambulance arrived.
Sandi takes all of this activity in her stride. She has completed the First Aid Training at the Jordan National Red Crescent Society, along with Psychosocial Support training. She said she found the practice activities and simulations in the First Aid training very helpful, as she has used these skills in real life a number of times since. The Psychosocial Support training also helped her interact with the patients, keeping them engaged and conscious. Sandi said it is an automatic reaction for her to assist in times of emergency, after learning these skills.
Sandi’s Aunt, who is also a volunteer at Jordan Red Crescent, is very proud of her niece. When she saw the crowd gathering around the injured man she asked Sandi to keep moving, but her niece refused. As the ambulance was taking the man away, the crowd gave Sandi a round of applause and thanked her. Her Aunt expressed her thanks for the training her niece had received, as it has increased Sandi’s confidence and abilities so much.