Oftentimes, especially during medical emergencies, rescuers forget to preserve the clothes of the individual or patient in their effort to focus on saving the life of the individual. What they do not realize is that being a rescuer is not just about saving lives especially when the individual is a victim of a crime. This is why it is important to take professional first aid and CPR courses which also cover the situations wherein keeping the clothes of the individual is a must in order to learn about these circumstances. Here are some of these situations or instances.
Upon seeing the victim or the afflicted individual, rescuers should assess if there is foul play in which another individual is responsible for the injuries that they have sustained. This should be suspected when the individual has unexplainable bruises or bruises that could not have possibly been caused by the apparent accident. If the patient is conscious, the rescuer should ask the patient about the incident while rendering medical care. Asking bystanders or onlookers is also optional especially if there is more than one rescuer at the scene and there is an opportunity to ask. However, if the patient is too stressed or if the patient cannot verbally express him or herself, the rescuer should ask the questions at a later time.
Aside from the clothes of the victims of sexual assault, any linens or dressings nearby should also be preserved as they may contain evidence. It is also the job of the rescuer to immediately endorse these evidences to a nearby police officer. It is also the job of the rescuer to inform the receiving medical staff if the individual is suspected of being sexually assaulted so that the evidences are properly assessed.
How to Bag the Evidence
In most accidents or medical emergencies, an uncontaminated bag where the evidences should be kept is not always available. If this is the case, first aid rescuers should put the clothes of the victim on the floor where it will not be touched by anybody or will not get lost. Upon the arrival of the EMT’s, healthcare professionals or authorities, rescuers should then point to the location of the individual’s clothes as EMT’s and authorities often have uncontaminated bags.
Rescuers should also be careful about cutting the clothes of the individual which can be necessary especially for the clothes of suspected sexual assault victims since they might end up cutting the parts that contain the necessary bodily fluids. Tearing the clothes of the patient during first aid administration is not advisable as well.