It can be difficult to tell if a person has a broken bone or a joint, as opposed to a simple muscular injury. If you’re in any doubt, treat the injury as a broken bone.

If the person is unconscious or is bleeding heavily, these must be dealt with first by controlling the bleeding with direct pressure and performing CPR. See the section on bleeding heavily above.

If the person is conscious, prevent any further pain or damage by keeping the fracture as still as possible until you get them safely to hospital.

Once you have done this, decide whether the best way to get them to hospital is by ambulance or car.

If the pain isn’t too severe, you could transport them to hospital by car. Get someone else to drive if possible so you can care for the person who is injured during the trip.

But call 999 if:

they’re in a lot of pain and in need of strong painkilling medication – call an ambulance and do not move them
it’s obvious they have a broken leg – do not move them, but keep them in the position you found them in and call an ambulance
you suspect they have injured or broken their back – call an ambulance and do not move them
Do not give the person who is injured anything to eat or drink, as they may need an anaesthetic (numbing medication) when they reach hospital.

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