A Medical Emergency is:
“The sudden onset of a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in placing the patient's health in serious jeopardy.”

Emergency Conditions include: - (According to the American College of Emergency Medicine)

  • Chest pain accompanied by any of the following:
    • Sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, radiating pain that moves to the arm or neck, dizziness, or feeling that your heart is beating irregularly or too fast
  • Choking
  • Severe bleeding that doesn't stop after 15 minutes of direct pressure
  • Fainting/convulsions/loss of consciousness
  • Broken or displaced bones
  • Poisoning/venom
  • Drowning
  • Burns
  • Suddenly not being able to walk, speak, or move a portion of your body
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
  • Severe Sudden Pain
  • Strong desire to/or threatens to hurt or kill themselves
  • Obstetrical Emergencies – (link to maternal health module)

Signs and symptoms of an Obstetrical Emergency include, but are not limited to:

  • Diminished fetal activity. (In the late third trimester, fewer than ten movements in a two-hour period may indicate that the fetus is in distress.)
  • Abnormal bleeding. (During pregnancy, brown or white to pink vaginal discharge is normal, bright red blood or blood containing large clots is not. After delivery, continual blood loss of soaking a pad in one hour or less for two pads in a row indicates hemorrhage).
  • Leaking amniotic fluid. (Amniotic fluid is straw-colored and may easily be confused with urine leakage but can be differentiated by its slightly sweet odor.)
  • Severe abdominal pain. (Stomach or lower back pain can indicate preeclampsia or an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy. Postpartum stomach pain can be a sign of infection or hemorrhage.)
  • Contractions. (Regular contractions before 37 weeks of gestation can signal the onset of preterm labor due to obstetrical complications.)
  • Abrupt and rapid increase in blood pressure. (Hypertension is one of the first signs of toxemia.)
  • Edema. (Sudden and significant swelling of hands and feet caused by fluid retention from toxemia.)
  • Unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge postpartum. (A thick, malodorous discharge from the vagina can indicate a postpartum infection.)
  • Fever. (Fever may indicate an active infection.)
  • Loss of consciousness. (Shock due to blood loss (hemorrhage) or amniotic embolism can precipitate a loss of consciousness in the mother.)
  • Blurred vision and headaches. (Vision problems and headache are possible symptoms of preeclampsia.)

If Emergency is identified:

Hotline worker MUST refer to appropriate health facility right away and ask the following:

  • Do you know where your closest health facility is?
  • Are you able to go now? (stress they should go asap).
  • If not, how can we help?

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