A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


August 21, 2012

Would You Know How To Handle A Medical Trauma?

     Medical Trauma is something I never felt I needed to be too concerned with.  After all, you just call 9-1-1, right?  An EMS unit shows up, takes over, and you or your loved one is treated on the spot, or transported for further medical treatment.  But we all need to realize that it is entirely possible that you might be the first responder  ---- or the ONLY responder ---- if the SHTF.
     With those concerns in mind, PLW set about finding how many people would be interested in learning some basic medical techniques, and then locating some medical personnel that would be willing to teach a non-licensed group, within the bounds of what the law allows.  We really wanted to find someone who had both medical and military training, since they were likely to have knowledge of the kinds of wounds that any of us might encounter at the scene of a car accident, a hunting accident, or accidental shooting at the gun range.
     So, for eight hours this last Saturday, I was part of a group of people who took this responsibility seriously.  We were taught by a husband/wife EMS team who have also served as Military Medics, both overseas in the War on Terror and stateside, in the National Guard.  While they made it clear that there is a difference between Civilian Trauma and Combat Trauma, there are many similar scenarios.  We could learn from their treatment techniques and possibly help save a life.
     Obviously, if TEOTWAWKI occurs, severe injuries will result in loss of life.  But there are some injuries that we, as civilians and non-medically trained personnel, can do something about:  1) Bleeding from extremity wounds,  2) Lung trauma (Tension Pneumothorax in medical jargon); and 3) Airway Obstruction Trauma to the face or airway.  Just knowing how to react and treat these three types of injuries can help you to save your own life or that of your buddy or loved one.
     The first thing we learned was how to treat bleeding from a wound to an extremity.  We learned how to identify whether that wound required a tourniquet (in the case of arterial injury) or combat gauze (due to profuse bleeding; a venous injury).  We learned where to apply a tourniquet and how to correctly apply it; and which tourniquet they recommended.  We practiced applying them to each other; one to the arm, one to the leg.  We learned what it should feel like and how to apply it quickly.  Additional information was given on how long to leave it on, feeling for a pulse, and when in a crisis, it's "Life over Limb."
     Watching a video on applying combat gauze was most helpful.  It was one thing to have someone tell you to stuff the wound, layer the gauze, while continuing direct pressure, and holding that pressure for at least three minutes .... and it's another thing to see what that actually looks like.  That picture in my head will serve me well if I'm ever confronted with a compressible hemorrhage.  If you are interested in watching this video, you can click here.  (WARNING:  THE VIDEO IS GRAPHIC, but this was an actual military training exercise performed on a pig, showing the use of combat gauze and demonstrating the proper technique. If blood isn't your thing, please skip it.)
     We learned about treating sucking chest wounds with a Chest Seal or HALO, which helps stop bleeding and the devastating results of a collapsed lung.  We also learned how to apply a nasopharyngeal tube (to a medical dummy), in case we are ever confronted with an airway obstruction.  We learned how to recognize shock and prevent hypothermia.  We learned how to assess a penetrating eye trauma, and construct an eye shield out of a dixie cup.
SOF Tactical Tourniquet
     And finally, we learned how to build our own "blow out kit."  This kit is something that you can keep with you as part of your BOB, and it includes many items you may already have, (such as ace bandages, thermal blanket, tarp, etc); while introducing new items that are more medically-related (SOF Tactical tourniquets, Quik Clot, Chest Seal, etc).  You can buy already-assembled kits and supplement them with necessary items like stethoscopes, scissors for cutting away clothing, and gatorade mixes for dehydration.
     But most importantly, get together a group of like-minded people, seek out expert medical training and put together a kit that will enable you to attend to a variety of trauma and medical situations.  Our professional medical team is going to put together an extensive 2-day CPR course for us in the fall; expanding on what we learned this first session.  I just don't think we can go wrong in having this information.  It only makes us more prepared for the eventual emergencies and crises we will be facing.  

1 Peter 2:24       “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
   

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