Management of Head Injured Detainees

Table 1 Glasgow Coma Scale


Eye opening

• Spontaneous 4

• To painful stimulus 2

Best motor response

• Obeys commands 6

• Localises painful stimulus 5

• Withdraws (normal flexion) 4

• Flexes abnormally (spastic flexion) 3

Best verbal response

• Says inappropriate words 3

• Makes incomprehensible sounds 2

• No verbal response 1

Maximum 15

From Jennett, B., Teasdale, G. Aspects of coma after severe head injury. Lancet. 1:878-881,


Table 2

Detained Person: Observation List

If any detainee fails to meet any of the following criteria, an appropriate health care professional or ambulance must be called.

When assessing the level of rousability consider:

Rousability—can they be woken?

Response to questions—can they give appropriate answers to questions such as:

Response to commands—can they respond appropriately to commands such as:

Remember—take into account the possibility or presence of other illnesses, injury, or mental condition. A person who is drowsy and smells of alcohol may also have the following:

• Drug intoxication or overdose

From Home Office. Annex H. Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (s.60[1][a] and s.66[1]). Codes of Practice A-E revised edition. Effective 1 April 2003. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Norwich, UK, 2003.

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