first aid christian eriksen
Chris­ti­an Erik­sen of team Den­mark col­lap­sed during EURO 2020Mar­co Iacobucci/Dreamstime.com [Dream­sti­me RF/Editorial]

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.

For more infor­ma­ti­on on first aid inst­ruc­tions plea­se visit the web­site of the Ger­man Red Cross.

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:

  • Johan­ni­ter
  • The Ger­man Red Cross
  • ADAC
  • Mal­te­ser

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.