What Does It Mean When A Patient Is Unresponsive?

unresponsive.

If someone can’t or won’t respond, we call them unresponsive.

Depending on the context, a person’s unresponsiveness can be just a bummer or a life-threatening condition.

Medically speaking, when a person is called unresponsive, it means they’re at least unconscious, and possibly dead or dying.

What do you do if a person is unresponsive but breathing?

Gently tilt their head back to keep the airway open. If breathing or pulse stops at any time, roll the person onto their back and begin CPR. If you think there is a spinal injury, leave the person where you found them (as long as breathing continues).

What is the difference between unconscious and unresponsive?

Unconsciousness is an unresponsive state. A person who is unconscious may seem like they are sleeping, but may not respond to outside events, such as loud noises or being touched or shaken. Fainting is a type of unconsciousness that comes on suddenly and may only last a few seconds.

Is being unresponsive the same as being in a coma?

The deepest, darkest level is usually described as being unresponsive, meaning nothing you do to the patient—smells, touch, noises, pain—will arouse them to any sort of response. Coma is a simplistic term for an unconscious patient who is unresponsive to verbal or physical attempts to wake him or her.