Deadly Bleeding or Severe bleeding that ends with large amounts of Blood being lost has the potential to end a victims life very quickly. Either “Internal” or “External” bleeding depending on the volume of Blood being lost can become life threatening and must be controlled as soon as possible. Many of our students have asked great questions including, how much blood can you lose before its too much? How much Blood do we have? Whats the difference between internal and external bleeding? How can I tell if its an Arterial bleed or venous? Are there any tricks I can do to help stop the bleeding? Should I use a tourniquet?
On “average” many people have about 5 to 6 liters of blood within their body, of course size, gender, age and athleticism play factors on this volume as we are all unique. The “average” blood loss that many people can sustain is about 2 cups / 500 ml or 1/2 liter, this volume is much less than many people are aware of and indeed has the potential to become life threatening. So whats the best way to stop the bleeding? As we are not able to do very much for Internal bleeding “Bleeding trapped under the skin” other than seeking medical attention right away, lets focus on external bleeding.
EXTERNAL BLEEDING “Blood is coming out of their body”
There are 2 types of external bleeding, Arterial & Venous, the best way to describe them is not to focus on the Blood itself but the volume that is being lost. Arterial bleeds or “From the Artery” will have a “HIGH” volume and may spray, Venous or “From the Vein” will have a “LOW” volume and will steadily bleed out.
The 3 P’s to STOP External Bleeding
1) Pressure… 2) Pressure….. 3) Pressure………
Of course each of these moderate pressures are different and have a different skill that we as rescuers can use to help “Slow the Blood-flow” so that it can stop itself. “Never use a tourniquet” or hard pressure as tourniquet’s STOP blood-flow and any body part deprived of blood & oxygen will eventually die. This can lead to severe complications when the victim arrives at the hospital to receive further medical care. As first response rescuers lets focus on how to “Slow the Blood-flow” so your own body can stop the bleeding itself, this skill will be invaluable for anyone who has external bleeding from either an artery or vein.
The 3 P’s to STOP External Bleeding Stand For
1) Direct Pressure 2) Pressure Bandages 3) Pressure Points
What to Do:
- Make sure its safe for you to help the victim before you approach them. If safe to do so check the victim.
- If the bleeding looks high in volume or you are not comfortable with care call 911 for further medical aid.
- With the wound in view, expose the wound “rinse with cool clean water if needed“
- Apply direct pressure with a bandage to the wound “Slow the Blood-Flow” If bleeding persists always add more bandages never take away blood soaked bandages as your wound is beginning to clot.
- Apply a Pressure Bandage, to secure a direct pressure bandage use either roller gauze or a triangular bandages to secure your direct pressure bandages in place with a “Moderate pressure” always make sure that circulation is maintained distally or “after the wound“, to do this try pressing on the skin past the wound, if the blood flow is normal the skin will blanch then return to its original color quickly.
- For persistent bleeding and Arterial bleeds add the use of pressure points, to do this use an object like a roll of gauze or bandages and place them in the Joint “Arm Pit, Groin, elbow” above the wound then have the victim bend the joint pressing the object in. This will create a pressure on the veins and arteries above to the wound thus slowing the blood flow even more. The addition of Cool packs and elevation may further increase your ability to slow the blood-flow and achiever our goal of having the bleeding stopped.
- Combined the 3 Pressures, Direct Pressure, Pressure Bandage & Pressure Points have been shown to greatly increase survival rate of victims experiencing blood loss. Just remember to continue care and seek medical aid for any bleeding that has the potential to be severe.
In any Emergency Remember To:
Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!
Swoop into first aid and give a breath of life, let first aid training in Edmonton be your Saving Grace.