Robert House guides us through the 12 Injuries of Christmas and what to do about them, bringing you health and happiness!

Welcome back to the 12 injuries of Christmas! Let’s leave our first family alone as they have suffered enough, and move next door…


On the fifth day of Christmas, another injury…. Five (rounds of) CPR

First aid recovery position PSE


It’s Christmas Day; the house is full, lots of people and lots of presents. You’re having a massive get together with lots of friends and family, 26 in total in fact! Then catastrophe, someone gave Robin a pair of socks and he is kicking off (I actually LOVE getting socks! – Robin). Then bigger catastrophe, a quiet Monopoly game  now erupts and leaves people everywhere. In fact it looks like only you and 4 others are uninjured. (Being made to play Monopoly WOULD enrage me, check our suggestions for better games this Christmas)

Let’s prioritise your uncle who’s lying motionless in the middle of the floor. You make sure the area is now danger-free, from rogue monopoly pieces, dice, pint glasses, and then you see if he is responsive.

He doesn’t react to your voice, nor pain stimuli you give by grabbing at his shoulder hard. He is unresponsive. You look, listen and feel for breaths for 10 seconds by placing your cheek next to his mouth and looking at the chest to count breaths. Nope. Nothing. Just like what Robin wished he had received other than socks (Please mum I still want socks! – Robin). So we know we need to do CPR…

You send one of your 4 non-injured people to call for help and tell them to come back to you as soon as it is done. You tell them to advise that we have a non-responsive male, suspected heart attack, and to give VERY specific instructions as to where you are.

You get another one on the floor with you to do CPR. You get on the chest as soon as you can:

  • You want the base of the palm to be in the centre of the chest (on the breast bone) roughly at nipple height
  • Place your other hand on top of your placed hand
  • Straighten out your arms as you want the power to come from the hips, not the arms
  • Get your body straight over the chest so the pressure is directly down on the chest
  • Compress the chest down 1 third the depth of the chest (still the same whether achieved by 2 fingers on an infant or 2 hands and whole body weight on a huge rugby player) at a rate of between 100 and 120 BPM
  • Recoil! Make sure you come fully up off the chest to allow the heart to refill properly
  • Swap every 2 minutes to keep each other as fresh as possible
  • Don’t be disheartened if you feel ribs dislocate


Your helper has returned after making the phone call, so they can start taking turns doing CPR. CPR is tiring, and you’ll need help to keep going until the paramedics arrive.


Later you can assess the Great Monopoly Disaster of 2018.


On the sixth day of Christmas, another injury… Six People Lying (in the recovery position)

recovery position

You move on with the other two members of your first aid crew. There are 6 people spread around not really making any noise. You roll up your Christmas jumper sleeves and do the same assessment on all 6 of the casualties lying around the place. Great news, they are all breathing and groaning like when the first Christmas song came on the radio on the 1st of November.

We better roll them into the recovery position.

  • Let’s quickly check their pockets so we’re not rolling them onto anything
  • Take the far hand and move it to their cheek and hold it there
  • Using your free arm pull up the leg on the same side as the arm and hold the knee
  • Whilst supporting the head bring the knee towards you, rolling the casualty
  • Position the leg comfortably at a right angle
  • Tilt the head up to open the airway
  • Support as needed

All six are now comfortably supported on their sides and you leave one of your Christmas comrades’ to look after them.

Now onto the next few victims of the Christmas catastrophe.


On the seventh day of Christmas, another injury…. Seven Swans a-Bleeding

Not actual swans, but aunt Joan does like a bit of dressing up like Swan Lake. We have a right variety of cuts here. Obviously caused by the shrapnel from the game board.

First 3 bleeders… it’s just grazes, thankfully not much to do here but make sure it’s clean.

So you move onto the next Christmas cracker. A bit more blood as it’s a proper cut along the forearm. Being the amazing first aider you are, you get a dressing out of, get the injured to press it down on the wound with good pressure and then get your glamorous first aid elf to clean and dress properly once the bleeding has stopped.

Moving along. Wow, this one is a bit more severe. Really gushing and probably will need stitches at the hospital. Probably should have dealt with this one first. But you have to deal with it now. The cuts a deep one across the palm of the hand this time, which is manageable. You get them to hold a dressing and close their hand. This puts pressure on the wound for you and means you can dive into your first aid stocking again and get a bandage. You are going to bandage the whole fist. Be nice and leave the thumb hanging out though if it’s not affected, but make sure the bandage is tight enough they can’t open their hand.

Then we need to get that limb elevated. Across the chest works best for this, and that can be in a triangle bandage or just hold it in place.

Getting pretty tired now but still lots to do… The last one seems to have had the worst of it. There is a long piece of game board penetrating their hand. All the way through! Being the great first aider you are you already know not to take it out. How best to wrap this up? Like a delicate gift for a loved one. You are going to build up dressings on either side of the object, with no pressure going down, but pinching it closed from the sides. With the sides all padded up we then dress it as normal and elevate before getting to the hospital.

Phew, a few lives saved there for sure. Your last helper is keeping an eye on them.

Time for a nice glass of mulled wine?


On the eighth day of Christmas, another injury… Eight Maids in Shock

Not quite time for that mulled wine yet. We now get to our 8 maids. They are all feeling a little queasy and looking a little pale, cold and clammy. Not good. Pretty sure they are all in shock. So let’s deal with them.

Shock is when there is a sudden drop in blood pressure. The drop in blood flow to the vital organs and brain can cause the body to shut down as it tries to preserve life. This means the extremities lose blood as the vital organs come first, so they go pale, cold and clammy. Blood doesn’t get to the brain making them confused and feeling faint, and nausea will come from no blood getting to the stomach. Shock can be fatal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Shock can be from bleeding, allergic reactions, burns, or in this case, trauma.

Our poor maids’ blood pressures have all dropped off and most look close to passing out. So let’s move quickly.

You help all eight onto the floor, getting them to lie on their backs. A pillow goes under the head for comfort but importantly, you take a load of the chairs from around the dinner table, where the now-ruined Christmas feast was going to happen, and you get all of them to elevate their legs on the chairs, to help blood return from their legs and to keep their blood pressure up in their chest as much as possible.

Then we want a blanket on each of them as they will feel cold, but we don’t want to make them hot as that will cause the blood vessels to dilate more, making it worse.

The Christmas sirens are ringing from the ambulance, thankfully. Now to sit down, pour yourself a nice drink and take a nice big deep breath.

Bet the neighbour’s Christmas was less dramatic…


Come back next week for part 3

Merry Christmas

As always, take care of yourselves and happy geeking!


Robert House – Operating Department Practitioner and Coaching for Geeks health correspondent

Follow Robert on Twitter @Roberthouse1985


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