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.
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|
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.”