severe bleeding. Any person who has lost a large amount
5. Again, do not loosen the tourniquet except if
of blood must be treated by medical personnel as soon
directed to do so by a physician.
as possible. In the meantime, you can greatly improve
his chances for recovery by treating him for shock as
soon as possible and by keeping the person quiet.
Bleeding from most external wounds is fairly easy
Shock is always present in persons who have lost a
to control; however, when some of the larger arteries are
great amount of blood. If you do not notice symptoms
cut, hemorrhage may be so rapid that death will result
of shock treat the victim for it anyway. Since the
within a few minutes. Methods of controlling the flow
measures used to prevent shock are the same as those
of blood in some of these emergency situations are
used to treat it, you may prevent its occurrence or, at
briefly described below.
least, lessen its severity.
Wounds of the neck are often caused by sharp
Equally important, you must keep the casualty
objects, such as knives, razors, and glass fragments.
Sometimes a large artery is cut, sometimes a large vein,
quiet. Try to keep him from getting excited. Do not move
and sometimes both. In any event, the blood loss is
the victim unnecessarily, and do not handle him roughly.
extremely rapid. In treating wounds to the neck, an
Keeping him quiet allows a clot to form in the wound
occlusive dressing should be applied over a sterile
and also helps to prevent the occurrence of shock. Try
absorbent dressing to prevent air from entering the
in every way to be careful and gentle in handling the
circulation system. It may also be possible to control the
victim, and do everything you can to make him as
bleeding from these wounds by applying hand pressure
comfortable as possible under the circumstances.
above and below the cut; such pressure must be
maintained until a medical officer gives further
instructions. It is a good idea to use cloth under your
hands, if any is available, because the blood makes his
You recall that in our discussion of hemorrhage, we
neck very slippery and difficult to hold.
said that the loss of 2 or more pints of blood usually
When the large artery in the leg is cut, the bleeding
causes shock You should also know that shock can
is very rapid. At least partial (and perhaps complete)
occur with any injury. And, in fact, some degree of shock
control of the hemorrhage can be attained by applying
usually accompanies serious injuries. You should,
extreme pressure directly over the wound. Cover your
therefore, consider shock whenever handling a person
clenched fist with clothing or type of other cloth that is
who has been injured.
available, and thrust your fist directly onto the wound.
To understand how shock develops, let us look at
(If no cloth is available, use your fist alone; but you will
what happens when you hit the end of your finger with
find it more difficult to control the bleeding by this
method because your fist and the wound will both
a hammer. Your whole body responds. Since your finger
become very slippery.) If a tourniquet becomes
hurts, you might think it is the only part of you that is
necessary, continue to apply direct pressure with your
responding to the injury; but, in fact, a great many
hand while the tourniquet is being applied.
changes are taking place in your body while you are
concerned with the immediate pain. Your body AS A
Internal bleeding may be caused by deep wounds or
WHOLE is injured and your body AS A WHOLE
by heavy blows that rupture internal blood vessels.
attempts to recover from the injury. A series of changes
When you suspect internal bleeding, anticipate that the
takes place, designed to restore the body to its normal,
victim may vomit blood. Give the victim nothing by
mouth and keep him lying down, preferably on his side
with a loosened collar and belt. Make him as
Sometimes, however, the changes that occur may in
comfortable as possible and reassure him. The victim
themselves cause further damage to the body. To some
should always be treated for shock (discussed below).
extent, this is what happens in shock. When a person is
injured, the blood flow in his entire body is disturbed.
GENERAL FIRST-AID MEASURES
To overcome this difficulty, the heartbeats faster and the
blood vessels near the skin and in the arms and legs
In addition to knowing ways to control serious
constrict, thus sending most of the available blood
bleeding by the application of pressure, you must be
supply to the vital organs of the body and to the nerve
familiar with the following measures that are important
in the first-aid treatment of a person who has suffered
centers in the brain that control all vital functions.