How you can help: complex trauma prevention and first aid

Written by: Professor Mohamed Imam
Published: | Updated: 29/09/2021
Edited by: Sarah Sherlock

Complex trauma may happen when you least expect it, however, being prepared and knowing what to do is important and can potentially save a life. Following his two other articles on complex trauma and fractures, expert consultant orthopaedic surgeon Professor Mohamed Imam provides information and advice to help us better prepare in tough complex trauma situations.


first aid


How can complex trauma be prevented?

Prevention is better than cure. Some important prevention steps are:


  • It is recommended to put on protective gear while skiing, biking, rollerblading, and participating in contact sports. Protective gear includes elbow and knee pads, wrist guards, shin pads, and a helmet.
  • Create a safe home for young children. Placing a gate at stairways and keeping windows closed are important.
  • Teach children how to be safe and look out for themselves.
  • Supervise children carefully. No matter how safe an environment or situation may appear to be, there is no substitute for supervision.
  • Prevent falls by following safe practice; these include avoid standing on chairs, counter tops, or other unstable objects. Remove throw rugs and electrical cords from floor surfaces. Use handrails on staircases and non-skid mats in bathtubs. These steps are especially important for older people.



What are first aid steps that can be taken?

First aid steps include:


  1. Check the person's airway and breathing. If necessary, call for help and begin rescue
  2. Keep the person still and calm.
  3. Examine the person closely for other injuries.
  4. If medical help responds quickly, allow the medical personnel to take further action.
  5. If the skin is broken, it should be treated right away to prevent infection. Call emergency help right away. DO NOT breathe on the wound or probe it. To avoid further contamination, try to cover the wound. Cover with sterile dressings if they are available. If you are not medically trained to do so, do not try to line up the fracture.
  6. If needed, immobilise the broken bone with a splint or sling. Rolled up newspaper or strips of wood can act as possible splints. Both areas above and below the injured bone should be immobilised.
  7. Apply ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Keeping the limb elevated can provide additional help to reduce swelling.


Do not:


  • DO NOT move the person unless the broken bone is stable.
  • DO NOT move a person with an injured hip, pelvis, or upper leg unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must move the person, pull the person to safety by his clothes (such as by the shoulders of a shirt, a belt, or pant legs).
  • DO NOT move a person who has a possible spine injury.
  • DO NOT attempt to straighten a bone or change its position unless blood circulation appears hampered and no medically trained personnel are nearby.
  • DO NOT try to reposition a suspected spine injury.
  • DO NOT test a bone's ability to move.



If you have recently had complex trauma and would like to book a consultation for treatment, you can go to Professor Imam's profile and schedule a visit.

By Professor Mohamed Imam
Orthopaedic surgery

Professor Mohamed Imam is an exceptionally skilled consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in upper limb surgery, sports injuries, and complex trauma.

Professor Imam uses the latest technology in diagnosing a wide range of upper limb conditions. He has gained leading expertise in the diagnosis and management of wrist, shoulder, hand and elbow conditions, and is highly skilled in the treatment of sports injuries. Among his repertoire of procedures are major shoulder tendon repair, upper body tendon tears, joint preservation, joint replacement, cartilage regeneration, and reconstruction surgery.

Furthermore, Professor Imam specialises in arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery to treat numerous conditions, including arthritistennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder and tendonitis, as well as wrist and hand conditions such as Dupuytren's contracture and cubital tunnel syndrome

His extensive specialist training took place in the UK and internationally. In fact, he has been awarded multiple awards and international travelling fellowships, including a fellowship with Professor Christian Gerber, the world-leading pioneer of modern shoulder surgery, at Der Balgrist University Orthopaedic Centre of excellence in Zurich, Switzerland. What's more, he undertook travelling fellowships to gain up-to-date international experiences in Mayo Clinic, The Steadman clinic (the US Olympic team centre of excellence) and Stanford University.

Research is another area of Professor Imam's career. He is the chief investigator of leading national and international studies. His work is widely recognised, and he has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications in top international medical journals and written more than 12 textbook chapters on upper limb injuries.

Professor Imam has accomplished many achievements throughout his career. He has designed orthopaedic instruments, designed and published different techniques, and authored two books. One of these books surrounding the theme of the use of stem cells in orthopaedics and another concerning shoulder arthroscopy. He regularly presents his research at various national and international meetings. Currently, Professor Imam, with an elite team of researchers, is investigating the use of artificial and machine intelligence in surgery.

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