Tactical Combat Casualty Care has identified three preventable causes of death that occur on the battlefield before a patient gets to a hospital:
- massive arterial bleeding
- airway obstruction
- a lung injury called a tension pneumothorax.
All three of these injuries, when untreated, lead to death. However, when the proper medical treatment is performed, the probability of survival increases!
But for Americans not involved in law enforcement or the military, is there any reason to learn these life-saving techniques?
The only answer is yes!
While America has an excellent Fire/EMS system, the national average EMS response time is 14 minutes. In rural areas, the Fire/EMS response time maybe two to three times the national average. Unfortunately, in life-threatening injuries, “When seconds count, help is minutes away.” Thus, it becomes critical that we understand how to help ourselves and others.
As we all know from the American Heart Association, the sooner that CPR is started, the higher the probability of survival. But how long do you have to act with traumatic injuries?
With traumatic bleeding wounds, it is possible to die within 3 minutes due to massive hemorrhage.
With airway obstruction (inability to get air into the lungs), death occurs within 4-6 minutes.
With a tension pneumothorax (build-up of air in the pleural space of the lung,) death occurs within approximately 20 minutes.
When treating these injuries, early intervention is critical, and time is not your friend!
Going back to the original question, “why do I have to know this? I will never be shot.”
Unfortunately, in today’s world, shootings are never really scheduled events that you can consciously avoid. Just ask the victims at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando or the 700+ victims at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival concert shooting.
More importantly, does this information have any application outside of gunshot wounds? You bet it does!! Is there really any difference in the first aid treatment for an artery that has been cut by a bullet, or one that has been cut by a chainsaw accident, or by a kitchen knife while preparing dinner?
In a similar fashion, is there really any difference in the treatment of a lung injury due to a knife, a gunshot wound, or falling from a ladder and piercing the chest on a branch?
When you get back to the basics, there are multiple ways that a person may sustain an injury that results in massive hemorrhage (bleeding), airway obstruction, or the development of a tension pneumothorax. While the cause of the injury may be different, the treatment is the same:
- stop the bleeding
- clear the airway
- treat the lung injury
First Aid for Gunshot Wounds enables you to learn the basics so that you are better prepared to evaluate and treat these three potentially preventable causes of death that may occur before a patient gets to the hospital. You should take the course, anyone can learn these techniques. We make it easy.
Get Certified today and learn how to save a life!
(See related story: January 30th, 2018)
– Dr. Rick Hammesfahr, U.S. LawShield Medical Director