She hadn’t anticipated the intoxicated driver in the oncoming lane who swerved right in front of her. Human anatomy and physiology mcgraw hill pdf several feet, she now lay near her wrecked car as emergency medical technicians immobilized her neck and spine.

Terrifi ed, Judith tried to assess her condition. She didn’t think she was bleeding, and nothing hurt terribly, but she felt a dull ache in the upper right part of her abdomen. Minutes later, in the emergency department, a nurse checked Judith’s blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate, and other vital signs that reflect underlying metabolic activities necessary for life. Assessing vital signs is important in any medical decision.

Judith’s vital signs were stable, and she was alert, knew who and where she was, and didn’t have obvious life-threatening injuries, so transfer to a trauma center was not necessary. However, Judith continued to report abdominal pain.