Today We are going to go over some life-saving techniques for 3 very serious situations… Okay let's pretend for a sec you’re out there living your best life when suddenly things go extremely sideways. I mean what happens if you find yourself in desperate need of medical help and you can’t get to a hospital or call 9-11? What the heck do you do?
I’ll tell you what…You should be armed with life-saving information so that you A) don’t freak out and B) Can help or at least attempt to, if you are in a worst-case scenario and you don’t have immediate access to a doctor, nurse, or some other qualified healthcare professional. Having the right know-how could very well mean the difference between life and death for you or a loved one. So pay close attention, these are some of the Dos and Don’ts of 3 Different life-threatening scenarios. From gunshot wounds to frostbite and even heart attacks, here’s how to quickly deal with very dire situations.
But of course, if you are experiencing a medical emergency please call 9-11 or your country's equivalent, get to a hospital as soon as you can.
How to deal with 3 life-saving situations if you absolutely truly cannot call 9-11.
1. Heart Attack
What do you do if you suspect you or someone you love is experiencing a heart attack and how the heck do you stop it? Can you stop it? Short Answer No you can’t stop it unfortunately but maybe you can reduce the severity until help can arrive?
Heart attacks are serious, life and death situations and occur when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. There are many things that can cause this blockage but in the event of a true emergency, the only thing that truly matters is being able to properly identify the symptoms and attempt to handle it.
First and foremost know that the symptoms, range for sure and could even present differently between men and women but here are the common symptoms: pressure or tightness, squeezing pain in your chest, that can spread to the neck, jaw or back. One could also feel abdominal pain, or like they want to throw up, or even like they are experiencing indigestion or heartburn. Other noticeable signs are shortness of breath, cold sweats, fatigue or sudden dizziness.
Okay from there you’ve determined someone is having a heart attack. What the heck do you do if you cannot get to the hospital? First, determine if the person is conscious or unconscious. If they are conscious or awake, immediately give Aspirin, so long as one does not have some sort of allergy or other prescriptions that may interact with it. Taking aspirin during a heart attack could reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting. Also, the best position is on the floor with the person’s knees bent and their head and shoulders supported.
Now on the other hand in the worst, worst-case scenario, the person is unconscious, you gotta first check to see if they are breathing and have a pulse. To check if they are breathing, tilt their chin up and back to open the airway and then put your face close to their face so you can feel the breath on your cheek and then look down their chest to see if you can see it lowering and raising. Which would tell you yes they are able to breathe.
Now to check their pulse, place these two fingers (index and middle) at the base of their thumb just under the bone and determine if you can feel a pulse here. If the person isn't breathing or if you don't find a pulse you should begin CPR. Now I know this is where you’re going to be like doctor no, I tap out, I haven't been trained in CPR. I hear ya and believe me normally I would never ever suggest it to an untrained person, but in the event of life or death, the whole good samaritan deal comes into play. You gotta at least try to help you know what I’m saying. CPR in the simplest terms is: Push hard and fast on the person's chest, then about 100 to 120 compressions a minute. This is about the same pace as the song staying alive. Don’t worry I’ll link other CPR classes and Videos to help further in this department, should you need it
Now other things that you can do to help until other help arrives. If you are home alone, and this is happening to you, call 9-11, lay down by the front door of your house and unlock the front door or put yourself in a very visible location so that paramedics can easily access you. Also, some experts out there, though It is not endorsed by the American heart association, say making forcible coughing-like motions to help keep the blood pumping. It’s unofficially called Cough CPR.
2. Gunshot Wound
Thankfully odds are you will never have to deal with a gunshot wound in your lifetime. But sadly given the current world climate and everything going on, this may be handy to know anyway. I, unfortunately, have to treat gunshot wounds every day in the hospital. And I’ll repeat it again, getting to the hospital or calling for emergency help is always your first line of defense in these scenarios as it gives the victim the best odds of survival.
But if this is truly the worst-case scenario and you cannot immediately get to a hospital you need to be aware of these tips. First thing first, you gotta get somewhere safe. Get out of the line of fire. Period.
The second thing for any generic GS wound is stopping the bleeding. This is Crucial. If there is a visible hole, wash your hands, or use gloves if that is an option, and put a lot of pressure on the wound. Seriously don’t be shy, just stick your fingers right on the wound or use something else to apply really direct hard pressure on the area.
I'm going to point out a common misconception for a second. A lot of people's first thought is to go to a tourniquet, Heck you see it in every movie known to man. But that's not necessarily the best step as it doesn't always apply the right type of pressure. And using them properly takes practice. Personally seeing this every day, direct pressure with your hand or fingers is better. The only time you would use a real tourniquet or some other sort of makeshift one like a belt apparatus, or bandana-type tourniquet would be if you cannot use your fingers or hand to block it directly.
Another Don’t when it comes to GS wounds: don’t elevate their legs! This will change the blood flow, and maybe even impact the way they are breathing, so just don’t do it.
Next important step, We also have to address specifically where the GS wound is located on the body. I’ll go over a few quick areas that I typically See in the ER.
1. Chest. Chest wounds can injure the heart, lungs, aorta, etc, AND can be very deadly. Some of these wounds can also create a seal sucking situation where it allows air to enter the chest, We do not want that, so to treat this type of chest wound, seal the wound first with some type of plastic if you have it, to keep air from being sucked in, this will help with things like collapsed lungs. But a word of caution, if the victim is having trouble breathing or their breathing gets worse after you seal the area immediately remove the plastic.
2. Another area to be aware of for GS Wounds is the neck or back. This is a super tricky area where any wrong movement could damage the spinal cord or cause permanent issues like paralysis.
Depending on where it is in the body, 9 out of 10 times you do not, I repeat not, have to remove the bullet, I know the movies like to really play that point up and race against the clock trying to get the bullet out of the body, but this is only in very few select cases, most of the time we leave it in. so when in doubt LEAVE IT IN. you may do more damage by taking it out.
Also, keep in mind that someone with a gunshot wound might have substantial internal injuries. That can lead to breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, and heart issues. Begin CPR if they're not breathing and again strong pressure on the wound to try and stop the bleeding.
The next bad, life-threatening scenario you may have to, unfortunately, deal with? Frostbite. If you are like me and grew up in New York and spent a lot of my medical school in freezing cold Maine and Boston, then you know temperatures can drop real quick and blizzards can roll in. That’s why you need to know what to do in the event of frostbite.
Frostbite is an injury caused by the freezing of the skin and underlying tissue. It usually happens in areas that are smaller first areas like fingers and toes and like a burn, this injury is measured in different degrees so to speak. Also you may be surprised to learn that frostbite can happen in as little as 5 minutes if skin is left exposed to cold temperatures, so take this seriously.
Alright, what does it look like? At first, the skin that's not covered might get a little red and sore, that's called frostnip and usually the first sign of worse things to come. After it progresses, frostbite will go beyond the top layers of the skin and advance to the muscles and bone below. The skin might turn yellow or white at first and feel like pins and needles or burn or itch a bit, heck you may even see some blisters appear.
Ignore all those signs of frostbite and things could get really dire quickly... In advanced stages of frostbite, the skin is very hard to the touch and may start to turn a darker shade of blue or black. Most frostbitten people at this point cannot even feel their affected body part so that is why noticing the changes in the color of the skin are often the true indicator. So pay close attention.
Alright, how do you treat it? Of course, the hospital is always the first line of defense if thats an option for you but when there are no other possible options, First you have got to get somewhere warm or find some way to warm yourself up.
Do not however rub the skin, that will only make things worse. And Skin could fall off. What you should do if possible though is soak the affected area such as hands or feet in warm water. I repeat warm water.
Not hot water because you have to slowly warm yourself back up and because you can't feel your skin, you could be burning it without even knowing. So warm water or things like warm washcloths or sponges with water on the affected areas that cannot be submerged. (like your nose or ears for instance) Do this for at least 30 minutes. Now as you thaw, it’s not going to feel great. A person may experience painful stinging or prickling sensations or even get blisters as things start to thaw out. So you may want to introduce some pain medication if you need it for nerve pain as this happens. Some studies out there suggest that aspirin may help restore blood flow to body parts with severe frostbite within 23 hours of re-warming.
In the hospital typically we will do additional things like MRI Imaging to make sure there is no damage to the mussel or tissue underneath or even scrape off dead skin. In extreme frostbite scenarios where the blood flow won't come back and the skin is necrotic, one may need surgery to remove that area that way it doesn't get infected and cause more damage to the tissue around it.