A paramedic told me that while she was in training, a patient arrived who had been shot in the right upper chest. They eventually discovered the bullet, not in the back, not even on the other side of the chest, but rather deep down in the right butt cheek, against the skin.

As I stated in the first essay, one bullet may inflict many injuries—both internal and external. Even if you can’t get expert care right away, you should seek it as soon as possible. There are some life-saving procedures that I don’t go through here because they can’t be done outside of a hospital.

bullet-casing-2

Internal Bleeding Symptoms

Because you can’t observe all of the bleedings, it’s critical to note the first vital signs. Internal bleeding may be indicated by the following symptoms:

  • Decreasing alertness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Weak pulse
  • Lowering blood pressure, or faster and faster pulse.

Treatments for gunshot wounds are complicated and need a great deal of expertise. In this blog post, I can’t possibly cover everything. (I’ll be talking about gun shot injuries in my future book.)

I’ve attempted to provide you with a thorough understanding so that you have the highest possible chance of saving a life, but my blog is not intended to be your only source of information.

Internal bleeding is a medical emergency that, if not treated quickly, will most likely result in death.

For a Head Shot Wound

Think about: the airway.

Tips:

  1. Apply direct pressure to the wound if possible (no tourniquets around the neck).
  2. Make certain that the blood does not obstruct any vital arteries. You may turn an unconscious person on their side and bend the top knee forward to keep them in this position.
  3. You may apply mild direct pressure to a carotid artery (a large vessel on either side of the neck that delivers blood to the brain) if you fear it has been nicked, and you should use an occlusive dressing.

You want to prevent air from entering an open, or “sucking,” chest wound, but also allow excess air to escape.

A driver’s license or plastic wrap might be used as a makeshift bandage. When the diaphragm contracts and draws in air (the same mechanism that allows us to breathe), the vacuum sucks the object into the wound. If air needs to escape, however, it has little difficulty pushing the item upwards.

You might also use vaseline gauze or petroleum jelly on gauze. Is there no petroleum jelly? Try any sort of ointment, including honey.

Other treatment, such as a chest tube, may be required right away. The occlusive dressing is only a temporary measure to keep the condition from worsening.

For a Chest Wound With a Shot

Think about: air sucking, spine injury.

Tips:

  1. Open chest wounds are also known as sucking chest wounds because they draw air in, resulting in a collapsed lung. You can assist by applying an oleophilic dressing to the exposed flesh to prevent it from drawing air in.
  2. Remember that the spine is also part of the back of the chest. These individuals must be handled with particular care. You want to maintain these people as motionless as possible while not injuring their spinal cord.
  3. Outside of obtaining immediate expert medical attention, there’s not much you can do if the heart, lungs, spine, or a big blood vessel is harmed.

For a Gunshot Wound in the Abdomen

Think about: organ protection.

Tips:

  1. If the wound is open and exposes the intestines, apply a damp, sterile dressing over top of it (to protect the organs).
  2. If the intestines are punctured, the victim should receive medical attention immediately. If they don’t bleed to death, they will most likely succumb to an intense infection.
  3. The victim should only take liquids by mouth until the pain stops, and then wait a day or two. Obviously, this is a difficult situation, but it’s also an important one in which a slow drip of IV fluids would be beneficial.
arteries-leg-arm-2

If direct pressure to the wound and elevation fails to control bleeding from an arm wound, press on the brachial artery surrounding the site where the arrow in the left illustration is pointing (beneath the armpit). Grasp underneath their arm, wrap your fingers around the artery (inner arm), and apply firm pressure with your fingertips. When you know you’re probably having it, stop using pressure. If it’s still not stopped, try applying more force closer to the heart.

Here’s a technique to try it out right now: Partner up and locate the person’s radial pulse on the wrist (on the thumb side). After that, grab the upper arm as previously explained. Feel for a pause in the pulse. Of course, only do this for a few seconds since you’re stopping blood flow.

Apply pressure to the femoral artery for a bleeding leg wound that won’t stop (as shown on the right). The ideal location to do this is in the middle of the bend between the front of your leg and your hip. (This isn’t where the arrow is pointing; it’s just above it.)

For a Gunshot Wound in the Arm or Leg

Think about: bones.

Tips:

  1. In that order, apply pressure, elevate the limb, use a pressure bandage. Apply a pressure bandage after elevating the wound above the heart. Then apply pressure to the brachial or femoral artery on the arm or leg if it’s still bleeding.
  2. If all else fails in an extreme scenario, use a tourniquet. (It’s possible that you’ll have to “lose a limb or lose your life.’
  3. Internal bleeding may be indicated by an area that is rapidly swelling. Also, keep in mind that even if a bone has been damaged, it might not have been shattered. If you suspect this, the afflicted region should be splinted.

One More Thing: What About the Bullet?

In most cases, you don’t want to remove an implanted bullet. It’s very difficult to discover, and it could be corking a major blood vessel.

Thousands of military personnel are still suffering from shrapnel in their bodies every day. Unless the wound is immediately infected, the body generally adjusts to most metal without issue.

Shot wounds can range from minor to catastrophic. Some people are beyond help. As soon as possible, seek expert care.

Photo credit: Whitebullfilms

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