approximately 10 to 12 pints of blood. One pint of blood
can usually be lost without harmful effect; in fact, this
is the amount usually given by blood donors. However,
the loss of 2 pints usually causes shock, and shock
becomes greater and greater as the amount of blood loss
increases. If one half of the blood in the body is lost,
death usually results.
Capillary blood is usually brick red in color. When
capillaries are cut, the blood oozes out slowly. Blood
from the veins is dark red. When a vein is cut, the blood
escapes in a steady flow. When an artery near the surface
is cut, the blood gushes out in spurts that are
synchronized with heart beats; but if the cut artery is
deeply buried, the bleeding appears in a steady stream.
circumstances should a dressing be removed once it is
Arterial blood is usually bright red in color.
In actual practice, you may find it difficult to decide
In cases of severe hemorrhage, do not worry too
whether the bleeding is venous or arterial, but the
much about the dangers of infection. Although the
distinction is usually not important. A person can bleed
prevention of infection is important, the basic problem
to death quickly from a cut artery; prolonged bleeding
is to stop the flow of blood. When no material is
from any large cut can, of course, have the same effect.
available, simply thrust your hand onto the wound.
The important thing to know is that all bleeding must be
controlled as quickly as possible.
CONTROL OF HEMORRHAGE
Elevating or raising an injured limb above the level
of the heart helps to control the bleeding. Elevation
When administering first aid to a bleeding victim,
should be used together with direct pressure; however,
you must remain calm. Loss of blood is a dramatic event
do not elevate a limb when you suspect a fracture until
and always appears severe. In fact, most bleeding is less
the fracture has been splinted and you can be reasonably
severe than it may appear to be at first glance. Most of
certain that elevation will not cause further injury. Use
the major arteries are deep and well protected by tissue
a stable object to maintain elevation, for propping the
and bony prominence. Although bleeding can be fatal,
limb on an unstable object can do more harm than good.
you usually have enough time to think and act calmly
before the victim expires. Remember that most errors in
first aid are made because of acting without thinking.
The four methods for controlling hemorrhage are
In instances of severe bleeding where direct
direct pressure, elevation, indirect pressure, and the use
pressure and elevation are not controlling the bleeding,
of a tourniquet.
indirect pressure may be used. Bleeding from a cut
artery or vein can often be controlled by applying
pressure to the appropriate pressure point. This pressure
point is a place where the main artery to the injured part
Direct pressure is the first method to use when you
lies near the skin surface and over a bone. Pressure at
are trying to control hemorrhage. In almost every case,
such a point is applied with the fingers, thumb, or with
bleeding can be stopped by the application of pressure
the heel of the hand; no first-aid materials are required.
directly on the wound, as shown in figure 10-38. Use a
The object of the pressure is to compress the artery
sterile first-aid dressing, when available, and tie the knot
against the bone, thus shutting off the flow of blood from
directly over the wound, only tight enough to stop the
the heart to the wound.
bleeding. Any clean material can be used in the absence
of regular first-aid dressings. If the bleeding does not
stop, firmly apply another dressing over the first
dressing, or apply direct pressure with your hand or
Use of pressure points may cause damage
fingers over the dressing. This pressure may be applied
to the limb as a result of an inadequate flow of
by the victim himself or by a buddy. Under no