Strangulation is often deemed as one of the most violent physical attacks on another person. When an individual is strangled, pressure is applied to either the carotid artery or jugular vein in the neck, which cuts off oxygen and blood flow to the vital organs in the brain. Any time a patient enters a medical care facility or emergency room with strangulation injuries, the medical professionals are required to create an in-depth strangulation chart as part of a review of the situation. Here is a look at some of the important pieces of information that may be collected in a strangulation chart review from patients who have experienced strangulation during a physical attack.
How long was the patient being strangled?
Was the patient being strangled for just a few seconds, for a minute, or for longer? Was the strangulation act a singular event or were there several strangulation attempts? The cumulative time the individual was being strangled should be notated in the chart for further reference.
How was the strangulation performed?
Strangulation can be performed during an attack in typically three ways:
- Strangulation with a ligature or something wrapped around the neck
- Strangulation by suspension with a ligature
- Strangulation by direct pressure with the hands
It is obviously important that the method is documented for the purpose of sharing the information with authorities during a report of an attack. However, the method of strangulation can also affect the damage done to the internal parts of the neck.
Did the patient pass out or lose consciousness during the attack?
Loss of consciousness when being strangled is highly common. Unfortunately, this is often an indication that there was a shortage of oxygen to the brain, so brain damage could be a possibility. Medical professionals performing the strangulation chart review must take detailed notes if the individual reports they passed out during the incident.
Did the patient experience other physical symptoms after the strangulation?
When there is a lack of blood flow or oxygen flowing through the body, an individual can experience a range of side effects. Vomiting, temporary loss of vision or hearing, inability to swallow, and loss of voice can all be after-effects. It is critical that these symptoms are recorded during the strangulation chart review because every symptom can be indicative of how much damage has been done. Knowing these things, medical professionals can better devise a plan of action to perform further testing on the patient to ensure they are okay.