Denmark’s first-aider is a hero of Euro 2020
It was one of the most shocking moments of the UEFA European Championship 2020, as Denmark’s midfield star Christian Eriksen collapsed in the middle of the pitch, without any interference from the opposing team, and remained unconscious for several minutes. The team’s doctors immediately rushed to his aid and Eriksen had to be resuscitated several times. It took some time before the footballer was brought from the pitch into the hospital.
Later, the Danish team’s head doctor explained that Eriksen had very nearly died. Denmark’s captain, Simon Kjaer, also played a big part in saving Eriksen. After Eriksen’s collapse, the central defender was the first to grasp the situation, sprinted from the midline to his side, put him in the recovery position, and ensured that he did not swallow his tongue. He then rallied the entire team to form a wall around him, shielding him from view – an image which moved the football community.
However, it became even more apparent how important it is to be able to act quickly in emergencies. After all, more than 50,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest each year. All German citizens complete a basic first aid course in preparation for their driving test. However, much of this is quickly forgotten. This is why we have listed some important first aid measures here.
First aid: What should you do?
First of all, you must check whether the person is responsive and conscious, by speaking to them or gently nudging them.
If they do not react, you should call the emergency services (in Germany, you should call 112). Until help has arrived, the person’s head should be tilted back so that they can breathe freely. You should also check whether they are in fact breathing normally.
If so, they should be put in the recovery position and covered up. Headgear such as helmets must be removed beforehand.
If the person is unconscious, however, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) must be carried out. This consists of alternating between 30x chest compressions and 2x mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It is often said that chest compressions should be carried out to the rhythm of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees. The particular beat of this song makes it a good way of remembering how to do chest compressions.
Important: If you do not have a phone on you, the German emergency services can be reached via the nearest public emergency telephone. Black arrows on the white reflector posts along the motorway will direct you to the nearest emergency telephone.
First aid: Liability cases?
In 2019, Rechtsdepesche had already reported on who is liable for any injuries due to first aid measures. It is important to remember that if a layperson – somebody who is not a professional emergency responder – is performing first aid, they will only be liable for injuries in cases of gross or willful negligence.
If, however, the emergency responder has received professional training, then “slight” or “medium” negligence could already lead to damage claims in cases of injury.
First aid refresher courses: When and where?
For your drivers licence, you only need to take the first aid course once. However, you should brush up on your first aid knowledge every two to three years. Business first-aiders are often required to have proof of participation in refresher courses.
In Germany, the following organisations offer first aid courses:
- The German Red Cross
Typically, the cost of a first aid course will be no higher than 40 Euros. First aid training includes nine teaching sessions, each of which is 45 minutes long. It is therefore possible, in theory, to complete the entire course in one day. At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of attendance; there is no final exam.
Resuscitation with defibrillators
In the past, defibrillators were only available in intensive care units (ICU). Now, they can be found in many public spaces which often contain large groups of people. These include train stations, airports, football stadiums, outdoor swimming pools and much more.
In order to use it, one defibrillator electrode must be placed below the collarbone and another under the armpit, so that the machine can analyse the cardiac rhythm. Most defibrillators will inform users through a voice message, flashing lights, or digital notifications when it is time to press the button to carry out an electric shock. It is important to continue to carry out chest compressions in between the shocks, and to not touch the person while giving them an electric shock.