External Hemorrhage. An injured person should be examined as soon as possible to determine whether he is losing blood. Clothing must be removed from parts of the body where blood is seen seeping through.
External Hemorrhage Treatment And First Aid
- Apply direct pressure at the point of bleeding. A sterile gauze dressing, clean sanitary napkin, or freshly laundered piece of cloth should be placed over the wound and held there firmly. Only the pressure necessary to stop the bleeding should be used, for excessive pressure may interfere with the blood supply to other parts. If pressure controls the bleeding, a bandage may be needed to hold the dressing in place until the patient reaches the hospital. When pressure over the wound does not control the bleeding, follow instructions as given in the next item.
- For profuse bleeding coming in spurts from an arm, leg, or the face, apply deep pressure over the main artery that supplies this part. The main artery that serves the thigh and leg can be collapsed by applying firm, deep pressure in the groin. That supplying the arm can be shut off by firm pressure high in the arm along a line extending downward from just in front of the armpit. That supplying the face may be compressed by pressing backward and inward in the neck along a line between the larynx (voice box) and the muscles that turn the head. Bleeding from one side of the forehead may be controlled by pressure in front of the upper part of the ear.
- Apply a tourniquet as a LAST RESORT when severe bleeding from an arm or leg cannot be otherwise controlled. Use of a tourniquet can result in permanent injury to the arm or leg, possibly leading to amputation. If blood is being lost so rapidly, however, as to endanger life, it is better to risk amputation than permit the victim to bleed to death. A wide band of cloth such as a bandage or one torn from a sheet or a shirt is folded to make a strip three or four inches wide, consisting of about four layers of the cloth. This is wrapped snugly twice around the bleeding arm or leg. It should be placed as close as possible to the bleeding wound, between it and the victim's heart. The free ends of the band should be tied with an overhand knot. A short, strong stick or similar article that will not break is placed on the knot and two additional overhand knots are tied on top of the stick to hold it in place. The stick is then twisted, tightening the tourniquet, until bleeding stops. One or both ends of the stick are then tied to the arm so that the twisting cannot unwind.
Always make a notation to accompany the patient indicating the time when the tourniquet was applied, this to guide the doctor or nurse. This information can be written on the victim's forehead with indelible pencil or lipstick, if no paper is available. Leave the tourniquet exposed where it may be seen by hospital attendants.
- Prevent or treat shock. As a precaution, place the victim in a reclining position and keep him comfortably warm. If the bleeding is from an arm or a leg, elevate this part so as to reduce the blood pressure in it and thus favor the control of hemorrhage. If the victim is conscious, encourage him to take liquids by mouth. Avoid coffee, however, or any other stimulant, as they raise the blood pressure, increasing the tendency to hemorrhage.