Surviving a Gunshot Wound
Perhaps the worst of any survival situation is getting shot and having to take measures to live until professional medical attention arrives. Gunshot wounds are puncture wounds meaning they are caused by objects piercing the skin and creating a hole. Puncture wounds by gunshot can cause major tissue damage and are obviously life-threatening depending on the location. If you or someone you know has been shot the first action would be to call for medical help to get the victim to an ambulance as quickly as possible. Additionally make sure to protect yourself from the culprit with the gun that shot the victim and get into a safe location so that you can administer basic first aid until medical help arrives.
Effects of a Gunshot
There are a few factors that can work against you in the event you get shot. These include: the location of the injury, the size of the projectile, and the speed of the projectile. One could say that a handgun would generally produce less of an injury than say a rifle but you could ascertain by the speed of the projectile coming from a rifle the victim would sustain more traumatic injuries. Typically a gunshot victim will experience bleeding and the potential for hypovolemic shock. Hypovolemic shock is caused by an inadequate amount of blood in the circulatory system. If a bullet strikes a critical organ such as the heart, spine or brain the victim risks death.
Gunshot injuries will vary from case to case due to the entry points within the body and the path the bullet takes once in the body. Bullets are unpredictable and can bounce around once inside the victim’s body. The dynamics of the paths that bullets take in regards to gunshot injuries is called terminal ballistics.
Treating a Gunshot Wound
In the unfortunate event that a gunshot wound is suffered do your best to control the victim and help them achieve a calm state as possible. Again, make sure you and the victim are in a secure area to prevent further risk from the gun handler. After your safety is secured immobilize the victim as to not further aggravate injuries. Support their head and keep it aligned with the rest of their body. Allow the victim to lie in a position that is most comfortable for them and place unconscious victims in the recovery position which allows you to keep their airway open. If the victim is not breathing, administer CPR before treating the wound.
After you have successfully administered CPR control the bleeding by applying direct pressure with the heal of your hand with a clean gauze or bandage. Putting pressure on the wound for 10 minutes will allow for the blood vessels to close and allow early blood clot formation. Elevate the bleeding area above the heart if possible. After the bleeding has stopped, apply a pressure dressing and cover the wound with the cleanest available bandage.
This is obviously not an exhaustive protocol for things to do when suffering a gunshot wound rather a basic guide. Take these steps only when medical attention is on its way to help the wounded until more professional help arrives.