you determine that a victim is unresponsive but breathing

You Determine That a Victim is Unresponsive But Breathing

When it comes to assessing an unresponsive but breathing victim, it’s crucial to act swiftly and confidently. In the following paragraphs, I’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to ensure the safety and well-being of the individual in need. From checking for any immediate dangers to assessing their level of consciousness, we’ll cover it all.

Assessing Unresponsiveness in a Breathing Victim

When faced with a situation where you determine that a victim is unresponsive but breathing, it’s crucial to act swiftly and confidently to ensure their safety. Here are a few steps to help you assess the situation and determine the best course of action:

  1. Check for responsiveness: Start by gently shaking the victim and calling out to them. If there is no response, it’s a clear indication of unresponsiveness. Remember to stay calm and remain focused throughout the process.
  2. Assess the breathing: Next, check if the victim is breathing. Look for clear signs of chest rise and fall, and listen for any sounds of breathing. If the victim is breathing, it is a relief as this means that the airway is open, and vital organs are receiving oxygen.
  3. Monitor the breathing: While the victim is breathing, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on their breathing rate and pattern. Irregular or gasping breaths may indicate a more serious condition, such as respiratory distress or cardiac arrest. Stay vigilant and continuously assess their breathing to provide accurate information to medical professionals.
  4. Perform a head-to-toe assessment: As you continue to assess the victim, conduct a quick head-to-toe assessment for any visible signs of injury or distress. Look for pale skin, excessive sweating, or any other indications that may suggest an underlying health issue. This information will be valuable when relaying details to emergency responders.
  5. Begin bystander CPR if necessary: If the victim’s breathing stops or becomes irregular, it’s essential to initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. Begin with chest compressions to restore blood flow until professional help arrives. Stay calm and follow the guidelines for chest compression depth and rate.

Ensuring The Victim is Breathing

Assessing The Victim’s Breathing

When you determine that a victim is unresponsive but breathing, it is crucial to assess their breathing pattern to ensure their airway is clear and that they are receiving adequate oxygen. Here’s how you can assess the victim’s breathing:

  1. Look for chest movement: Gently observe the victim’s chest to see if it is rising and falling. This indicates that the victim is breathing.
  2. Listen for breathing sounds: Stay close to the victim’s face and listen for any sounds of breathing. Even if the breathing sounds are faint or irregular, it is essential to verify that they are present.
  3. Feel for breath on your cheek: Place your cheek near the victim’s mouth and nose and feel for any breath. Remember to avoid blocking the airway while doing this.

If the victim is not breathing, it is crucial to perform CPR immediately.

Performing the Head-Tilt Chin-Lift Maneuver

To maintain an open airway and ensure proper breathing, you can perform the head-tilt chin-lift maneuver. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Position yourself next to the victim: Kneel beside the victim’s head.
  2. Place one hand on the victim’s forehead: Gently place the palm of one hand on the victim’s forehead, using a firm yet gentle pressure to tilt the head back slightly.
  3. Place two fingers of your other hand under the victim’s chin: Use two fingers to lift the victim’s chin upward, helping to lift the tongue away from the back of the throat. Remember to support the jaw without putting pressure on the soft tissues.

This maneuver can help to clear any blockages in the airway, making it easier for the victim to breathe. However, if there is a suspected neck or spinal injury, avoid tilting the head and instead use the jaw thrust maneuver.


In situations where we encounter an unresponsive individual who is still breathing, it is crucial to act quickly and confidently. By following the steps outlined in this article, we can effectively assess the safety and well-being of the victim. Checking for responsiveness, observing signs of consciousness, and seeking immediate medical assistance are essential in providing the necessary help. By taking these steps, we can play a vital role in ensuring the victim receives the urgent assistance they need. Remember, acting swiftly and confidently can make a life-saving difference in these critical situations.