Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The importance of tourniqueting as part of the first-aid treatmentduring medical emergencies

Nobody is immune to natural disasters and accidents. We would never know what kind of fate every new second might bring on us. Hence, it is very important to cling to the blessings of God everyday and stay prepared for whatever tragedy that might cross our path. What makes the situation worse is that accidents mostly happen far away from the medical facilities and it is often difficult to get immediate medical attention. Therefore, in order to save time and to save lives, it is always important to be equipped with at least a few first-aid techniques. The most important thing to remember during any accident is not to panic. This is the moment when we are required to make the most rational and critical decisions and hence, panicking would never help us get out of the situation safely.

On 1st January 2015, a friend of mine was driving through the Indian State of Assam from Samdrup Jongkhar towards Phuntsholing. When he reached Bishmuri, the car suddenly took a sharp turn to the right without his intervention. He tried to steer it to the left but it wouldn’t respond to his efforts. The car cut its way into the right lane and as it hit the guardrail, the tip of the metal bar pierced through the left door and crushed the left thigh of the owner of the car who was sitting on the front seat. The victim was rushed to Phuntsholing hospital where he was found quite stable. He was able to talk and recognize people. The hospital staff were also optimistic that the patient would recover after carrying out the blood transfusion since he had lost extensive amount of blood on the way. But his bleeding did not stop even after the blood transfusion and that sent the staff into panic. He was referred to Thimphu hospital the same day but sadly he succumbed to his injuries on the way to Thimphu. When I talked to my friend later, he told me that due to the panic, they had forgotten to tourniquet his injured thigh on the way to Phuntsholing hospital from the crash site. For more than two hours, he was bleeding and this caused the extensive loss of blood. If his bleeding thigh was tourniqueted, perhaps his life could have been saved on that fateful day.

So the greatest lesson we can learn from this unfortunate incident is that whenever we get into any such accident, the first thing we should remember is not to panic and to find ways to stop bleeding. If we have injured our limbs, the easiest thing we could do is to tie up the upper part of the injured limb to stop ourselves from over-bleeding. In the afore-mentioned incident, the victim could have been saved if people had tied his injured thigh with a rope on the way to Phuntsholing hospital, because the medical reports had indicated no major internal injuries except the severing of his femur artery on his left thigh. The femur artery is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the leg and when it gets severed, it can be often fatal if no proper first-aids are provided on time.

Likewise, if you are bleeding from the head, neck or any other part that cannot be tourniqueted, you can always bandage your wounds with either your shirt or anything you can find around you. My 10-year-old son has been taught during his scout training program how to use their scarf or cloths to bandage the wounds if they ever meet with accidents. These are simple things we don’t need any expert to teach us, but during such stressful and panicking situations, we often fail to make right decisions that might save lives. Therefore, I think it’s very important to constantly remind ourselves of some of these key surviving techniques.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding me. I have been interested to learn correct way to administer CPR to help anyone who might collapse onto the floor from cardiac arrests. It has become quite common in big cities to see someone collapsing at office, shopping malls or airports.

    I must also pay attention to learning how to help accident victims.