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Backpacker Magazine – September 2011

Saving Lives: Medical MacGyvers

Use what you have at any given moment to alleviate a medical emergency in the backcountry.

by: Steve Howe

    Tags:

Medical MacGyvers

 

stop bleeding

>> Apply direct, firm pressure with a bulky dressing and the heel of your gloved hand for 10 to 20 minutes.

>> Tie a wide, flat wrap around the wound to keep pressure. Knot it directly over the dressing.

>> If possible, elevate the wound above heart level.

>> Apply pressure to the nearest supply artery: the upper arm (brachial), leg (femoral), or knee (popliteal).

>> Promote clotting: Keep the victim still and leave wound-contacting padding in place.

>> Last resort: Tighten a wide-bandage tourniquet above the wound. Loosen hourly to check for clotting and limit application to six hours.

 

Close an open wound

>> Clean and dry the injury.

>> Use adhesive strips to pull skin together: Adhere two strips simultaneously to either side of the wound and pull them across the cut, closing the skin. Strips should be one half-inch apart.

>> Reinforce strips and cover the wound with antibiotic ointment and a clean, dry dressing.

>> Don’t close these wound types: gaping, infected, or open for 18 hours or more.

 

Soothe burns

>> Remove hot/burning material.

>> Flush with cool water for at least 10 minutes. Do not use ice.

>> Leave blisters intact; disinfect and treat wounded skin to prevent infection and fluid loss.

>> Hydrate the patient; dehydration is a complicating side effect.

>> Give anti-inflammatories.



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READERS COMMENTS

wildchild60
Dec 28, 2011

invest in a first aid and cpr class.

Edwards
Dec 21, 2011

I've led wilderness trips for years, and recently joined the marine corps reserve. What we do in the corps is always put a tourniquet on if in doubt, and write on their forehead "T time / date". Sharpie on the forehead will leave little doubt when the tourniquet is applied. Don't remove it, but get to a hospital ASAP.

Rocky
Oct 09, 2011

If you know your going to be rescued, you can keep a tourniquet on for over 12hrs up to 18. Just make sure you remember the time applied. Toxins will build at the sight of the tourniquet and if you release it all at once, it can cause the heart to fail.

Combat medic
Sep 30, 2011

If you place a tourniquet on a patient, you can loosen it every two to four hours, but never remove it completely.

Combat medic
Sep 30, 2011

If you place a tourniquet on a patient, you can loosen it every two to four hours, but never remove it completely.

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