Survival Medicine 101 Part 5:
How To Treat A Bullet Wound
photo source: stock-clip.com
This week, Joshua Piven`s book “The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook” inspired me to write an article entitled “How to survive if you`re in the line of gunfire” . Most survival manuals don`t cover this subject and I think it`s an important topic, especially when disasters and crises often lead to violent riots and street shootings (as it happened after hurricane Katrina, in 2005).
Now, as much as I`d like to think I won`t live to see this happening, I`ve got to be realistic and admit not only that I might see it, but that I`ll also get caught in the middle of it. You may never know…
So now I know the basic survival measure to avoid getting shot, even if I`m the primary target. However, what happens if I do get shot? Or if someone else gets hurt right beside me? What do I do then?
I found the answer on firstaid.about.com, and I want to share it with you. So here`s what you need to do if you or someone close to you gets shot:
1. Stay Safe. If you are not the victim,practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if available. Any situation that involves a gun is potentially dangerous, and rescuers are no help to a victim if they get hurt.
2. Call 911 as soon as it is clear a gun is involved. Surviving a gunshot wound depends greatly on how quickly a victim gets to a hospital. Ideally, a gunshot wound victim should be on the way to a hospital in an ambulance within 10 minutes of being shot.
3. Do not move the victim unless his or her safety is in jeopardy.
4. Follow basic first aid. If the victim is unconscious but breathing, keep the airway open and clear. If the victim is not breathing, begin CPR.
5. Control any bleeding. The classic way to do so is applying pressure on the wound until the ambulance takes the victim to hospital.
6. Seal gunshot wounds to the chest with some type of plastic to keep air from being sucked into the wound. This helps prevent the development of a collapsed lung. If the victim begins complaining of worsening shortness of breath, remove the seal.
7. Let conscious victims sit or lie in a position most comfortable for them.
8. Unconscious victims should be placed in the recovery position.
9. Do not elevate legs to treat for shock if the gunshot wound is above the waist (unless the gunshot wound is in the arm). Gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest will bleed more quickly once the legs are elevated, making it harder for the victim to breathe.
10. Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink, including water!
That`s it for today. I`ll be back next week with more survival medicine methods and techniques. Until then, stay safe!
By Alec Deacon