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Campus Medical Incidents

Although you may not think of an office setting when it comes to emergencies, quick thinking in an office has saved many people from injury or even death. Coworkers and students may not have told you about their medical condition, such as diabetes, asthma, or epilepsy. Or you may not have told them about yours. When facing a medical emergency situation, it can be difficult to determine when and if to call 911, when to notify the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), and/or when to get Campus Safety involved.

There are specific conditions that should not wait for the arrival of SHAC or Campus Safety staff. These medical conditions are time sensitive and waiting too long could have serious consequences, even death. Additionally, there are protocols in place to ease the transition from the ambulance to the hospital emergency department. SHAC does not have the tools necessary to treat life-threatening events on campus.

When one of the following medical conditions occurs, dial 911 immediately

  • Severe allergic reaction (can be to medications, foods, insect bites)
  • Chest pain/Heart attack
  • CPR initiated
  • Unresponsive person
  • Immobile person (moving the person would cause greater injury and/or pain)
  • MVA-car striking pedestrian
  • Drug overdose
  • Extreme shortness of breath
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Stroke (symptoms include one or more of the following: slurred speech, trouble seeing, confusion, weakness on one side of the body or face)
  • Serious burns
  • Broken bones
  • Dislocated joints

In a non-life threatening incident, if PSU Campus Safety is notified, they will help you determine what to do. If SHAC is notified they can help advise you on the situation and plan. SHAC is the primary health clinic for PSU students, and is no different then any other clinic or urgent care in the Portland community, and is available for PSU community members experiencing a medical emergency. One thing to note is that SHAC will only be able to provide first aid on the scene. SHAC responders will determine what course of action is needed next, whether that is transporting a student back to the clinic for further treatment, or even calling 911 when the situation is critical, or the person in distress is a faculty/staff member or visitor. However, if you are ever in doubt, you should always dial 911 first. Dialing 911 immediately gets the help a person needs as quickly as possible.

Examples of when to call SHAC for advice (including but not limited to):

  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pains
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms/bruising
  • Minor injury capable of walking (sprained ankle)
  • Over exertion reactions- shortness of breath, red face, sweating profusely
  • Vomiting
  • Minor bleeding

Students all have access to a 24/7 Nurse Advice Line dedicated to PSU and staffed by Registered Nurses who can also assist students in determining what their best course of medical attention should be. This number is 1-844-224-3145.

One more piece of advice: know where your office's first aid kit is, what's in it and how to use what's in it. If you do use something in it, make sure your supervisor knows, so it can be replaced. Check the patient for any medical ID tags, bracelets or cards to tell paramedics about. Likewise, if you have a personal medical condition, make sure there's someone at work who knows you have the condition and who's familiar with first aid for it.

If you are wondering where you can get additional training in First Aid and CPR, SHAC offers training for CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) as well as First Aid for a fee. SHAC uses the AHA (American Heart Association) course curriculum for both courses.

If you are interested in setting up a training for either CPR/AED, First Aid or both for your department, or you have questions regarding creating/maintaining your office first aid kit, contact Kathy Samson at 503.725.2800. Or you can contact Life Line Health and Safety at 503.243.3364 if you decide to take a class off campus.