One benefit from Law Enforcement's adoption of body-worn cameras is the numerous videos of officers providing emergency trauma aid to injured people across the country. Sometimes they do a great job, sometimes not so great. Either way, the videos have brought to life the importance of having access to basic emergency trauma gear and understanding how to use it.
As great as first responders are, they can't be everywhere at all times. And they can't always even get to the injured person in time to make a difference. For these reasons, everyday citizens are often the first ones to come across a casualty. With a basic search of the internet, one can easily find stories of how people used a trauma kit and basic trauma aid skills to help save someone's life.
I have to admit that reading stories of people taking action to help another person brings me much joy. I came across a relatively brief forum post that I thought many of you would find interesting and also appreciate.
Hiker Saves a Life:
The original poster explained that several years ago, he was on a hike with his dog. They were about 5 miles from the nearest road when his husky-wolf mix named Tucker chased a rabbit into the brush. Tucker ran into a broadhead arrow that someone had left behind.
Tucker suffered an arterial laceration which, of course, bled profusely. If the average-sized human has about 5 liters of blood in their body. A loss of more than about 2 liters of blood, considerably reduces the likelihood of survival. However, in a dog around 20 pounds, losing a half-pint of blood could likely be fatal.
Fortunately, the original poster was carrying an every day (EDC) trauma kit that contained a pressure dressing. He also had emergency trauma training as well as basic pet first-aid class. He applied a pressure dressing and carried the dog to the nearest road. Highway patrol met the pair and transported them to the nearest veterinary hospital.
The dog received treatment and fully recovered from the injury. According to the poster, the vet said that the dog most certainly would have died had he not used the pressure dressing.
Pressure Dressings and Trauma Kits:
The most basic treatment of any bleeding wound is direct pressure to the severed vessel. Many different types of pressure dressings could fill the need for your specific trauma kit.
Consider the Israeli Bandage by Dynarex or the Thin H Bandage from H&H Medical. Their designs help control bleeding by providing constant and direct pressure to the wound. Both dressings are on the larger size and are easy to apply, even to yourself.
However, you may require a smaller, more compact pressure dressing. In that case, you may choose to carry the H&H Mini Compression Bandage.
Wound packing, or pushing gauze deep into a junctional wound can get direct pressure to an injury when superficial pressure may not be enough. Or when the wound is located on a part of the body where a tourniquet can't be used.
Hemostatic agents help slow or stop blood flow and are very effective when used correctly. The OLAES Hemostatic Bandage is a product that combines a pressure dressing with hemostatic infused gauze.
I was unable to find much data on the effectiveness of different types of hemostatic agents in dogs. However, what I did find pointed to the conclusion that they seem to have a beneficial effect just as they do in humans.
In other words, trauma gear should be with you, especially when you are doing something inherently dangerous or in a location where emergency response is far off. And the gear may benefit not only another human but perhaps an animal.
Pressure dressings are but one component of a complete trauma kit.
Tourniquets are highly effective. When it comes to applying a tourniquet to a dog the SWAT-T is the best choice.
If you hike or hunt with your dog, it wouldn't hurt to see if you can find a pet first-aid class. Of course, dogs have a different anatomy from humans, and it can't hurt to know how to treat them.
Here is a Comprehensive Trauma Kit Option:
There are many different companies selling trauma kits for various applications. The Wind River kit from Mountain Man Medical is an excellent kit for taking with you into the outdoors. Here is all that comes in that kit:
- The Osprey Molle Pouch with First Aid Red Cross Velcro Patch
- 2x North American Rescue C-A-T Tourniquets
- 1x SWAT-T Tourniquet
- 1x North American Rescue 4″ Mini Emergency Trauma Dressing
- 1x Dynarex 4″ “Israeli Style” High-Pressure Dressing
- 4x Pairs of Black Nitrile Gloves*
- 1x Compact Trauma Shears
- 1x North American Rescue Hyfin Compact Twin Pack Chest Seals
- 1x Mini Black Permanent Marker
- 1x Dynarex Emergency Rescue Blanket
- 2x Dynarex Self-Closure Elastic Bandages
- 2x QuikClot™ Rolled Dressing
- 2x Dynarex 4yrd x 2″ Rolled Gauze
- 4x Dynarex Burn Cream Packet
- 4x Dynarex Triple Antibiotic Ointment Packet (Compare to Neosporin)
- 4x Ibuprofen 200mg 2 Packs (8 total 200mg tabs)
- 4x Acetaminophen 325mg 2 Packs (8 total 350mg tabs)
- 2x Diphenhydramine 25mg tabs
- 4x Dynarex Sting & Bite Wipes
- 1x Stainless steel Tweezers
- 8x Dynarex Antiseptic Wipes
- 10x Dynarex Adhesive Bandages (Compare to Band-Aids)
- 1x Dynarex Triangle Bandage / Cravat
- 2x Dynarex Non-Toxic Instant Cold-Packs
Interested in learning a bit more about how to properly apply a pressure dressing? Take a look at this video from the Mountain Man Medical youtube page.