he Adult First Aid/CPR/AED course incorporates the latest science and teaches students to recognize and care for a variety of first aid emergencies.

What Questions to Ask During a Medical Emergency or When Providing First Aid?

Captain Thomas E. BlissFirst Aid CPR & AED Classes, News, Survival At Sea, Vessel First Aid Leave a Comment

If you are currently certified in First Aid, CPR/AED, and have a fully stocked first aid kit; we applaud you!

Okay, you have the cert, the gear, and your ready to roll like “Johnny” Gage and Roy DeSoto (share this post if you remember the reference). My guess is that if you’ve read this far you are most likely not a health care professional, but find yourself in a real life medical emergency, and like most every two year certified lay responders…”losing your mind” (spoken in my best Ron White voice).

We all know the rules right?

  1. Check the scene for safety
  2. Unconscious/Unresponsive Call 911
  3. Unconscious? Consent is implied. Conscious? Get consent.

Now that you are ready to care for a conscious patient, and you have consent; what questions should you ask a person suffering an injury or medical emergency?

BTW: We provide our students with tools in every single class we hold; Knowledge Tools, Practical Skills Tools, and the most over looked aspect of emergency medical response training… Question Tools!

The answer is simply “SAMPLE“, a mnemonic acronym to remember key questions for a person’s medical assessment. The SAMPLE history is sometimes used in conjunction with vital signs and OPQRST. The OPQRST questions are most commonly used in the field of emergency medicine by first responders during the secondary assessment. It is used for alert people, but often much of this information can also be obtained from the family or friend of an unresponsive person. In the case of severe trauma, this portion of the assessment is less important. A derivative of SAMPLE history is AMPLE history which places a greater emphasis on a person’s medical history.

The parts of the mnemonic are:

  • S – Signs/Symptoms (Symptoms are important, but they are subjective.)
  • A – Allergies
  • M – Medications
  • P – Past Illnesses
  • L – Last Oral Intake (Sometimes also last Menstrual Cycle.)
  • E – Events Leading Up To Present Illness / Injury

It’s a good practice to have these memorized, but if you need a helper we have attached a link to a downloadable form you can use when offering care. The form we use is called a “PCR” or patient care report.

Just click here and you’ll be taken to the form. Print the form, and put it with your first aid kits or supplies.


Remember that all information gathered on the PCR is confidential, and is not to be shared with anyone other than EMS. Once filled out and if EMS has been called; hand off the form to EMS, or destroy the form immediately after the patient has left your care.

Please have a very safe and sound 4th of July celebration, and an equally safe summer season…..now hold my beer and watch this….

Thomas Bliss

Northwest Response, Northwest First Aid & The Northwest Maritime Academy

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