If an individual is injured during a shooting incident whether hunting in the wilderness or as a crime victim, it is important to call for emergency assistance right away. Always remember that a bullet wound requires emergency care by the medical team. The quicker the medical team arrives on the scene, the better the chances of survival of the victim.
What to do if an individual sustains a bullet wound
Once an individual is injured with a bullet wound, there are certain considerations to bear in mind to increase the chances of survival especially if the bullet wound is severe.
- Check the scene and assess if it is safe to approach the individual. If possible, transfer the individual far from the location. You have to make sure that you are not at risk of additional injury.
- Call for emergency assistance right away. In case you could not make the call, you have to ask someone to call for you.
- You have to keep the individual still as possible in order to prevent further injuries. Always support the head of the individual so that it is in level with the rest of the body. You can also try to lie the individual down and elevate the wound higher than the level of the heart.
- Assess if the individual is breathing or has lost consciousness. If required, you have to perform CPR. By enrolling in a first aid course, you will learn how to properly perform CPR during emergency scenarios.
- Apply pressure over the wound to slow down or stop the bleeding. Continue to apply pressure for at least 10 minutes in order to allow the formation of blood clots. It is vital to keep the pressure steady during 10 minutes and not to constantly check on the wound.
- If a cold ice pack is available, you have to apply it on the wound. This will help close up the damaged blood vessels.
- Apply a pressure dressing the moment the bleeding as stopped. You have to utilize the cleanest cloth, bandage or gauze pad available to wrap the wound in a firm manner, preferably using an elastic or gauze bandage. Do not apply the dressing too tight since it will cut off the circulation and there is loss of sensation in the fingertips or toes.
- Bring the individual to the emergency department at the nearest hospital right away or call for emergency assistance.
Once the individual arrives at the emergency department, the healthcare professionals are capable and skilled in handling bullet wounds. The wound will be cleaned and the damaged organs, tissues, bones and blood vessels will be treated appropriately.
Important considerations to bear in mind
If possible, you might have to obtain the insurance information of the individual if available before arriving at the emergency department. The treatment can be started without it, but it will be required at some point.
Do not attempt to remove the bullet on your own. Always remember that only a healthcare professional possesses the skill and equipment to ensure that the removal is hygienic and safe.