- A person who has passed out due to alcohol or other drugs may vomit.
- A person who vomits while lying on their back may inhale their own vomit, and choke to death.
- Therefore: When a person passes out, lay them on their side to stop them dying.
The recovery position is a simple bit of basic first aid to stop people drowning in their own puke or swallowing their own tongue. It is also used in beach life-saving, as swallowed seawater may be vomited up, and indeed for unconscious people in general, just in case.
It is usually done after establishing that the patient is not conscious, but is breathing and has a pulse, and is not bleeding from any large wounds.
Use the recovery position with great caution if injury to the neck or back is suspected.
The basic idea is to roll the patient over onto their side. You could do it just any way, but there's also an approved way:
- With the patient lying on their back, extend the nearer arm straight out from the body as far as it will go.
- Place the patient's far arm's hand against the near cheek, so that the arm is bent across the face.
- Bend the patient's far knee.
- Roll the patient over toward you by pulling the far knee over. Keep the far hand under the head.
- Tilt the patient's head up to keep the airway open.
There's also a safer method for use with patients with suspected spinal injuries. This involves using three people to move the patient.
You could do the responsible thing after that - call an ambulance and stay with them. Or you could just draw on their face with a permanent marker.
Drowning in vomit seems to be a leading cause of death among rock stars; killing Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, Bon Scott and the drummer from Spinal Tap.
Everything2 medical disclaimer: Everything2 is not a medical or first aid site, and I am not a medical professional. This text is for informational purposes only.
Sources: wikipedia, sites that google threw up. You can easily find pictures of the procedure above, which will explain it much better.