I’ve had the opportunity to talk with a variety of medics,
both in the military and civilian world. From EMTs, paramedics, ER doctors,
special operators, fire fighters and first responders, and sometimes I ask why
they chose their profession.
Some are in the medical field because they fell into it. But
often, the answer I get for why they do such a difficult job is because at some
point in their life, they witnessed a life-threatening injury and didn’t know
what to do about it.
That feeling of helplessness while they watched someone,
maybe someone they loved, struggle to stay alive drove them to pursue their
profession. They wanted, badly, to help, but didn’t know where to begin.
It confuses me that medical kits are often neglected. I’ve
been in the medical world for a few years now and I’ve never had a hard time
convincing someone that medical equipment is a good idea to have nearby.
But I still seldom encounter someone who keeps one nearby, even
if they’re never more than an arm’s length away from a weapon. A large number
of the people in my life don’t think twice about strapping up just to take out
the garbage, but haven’t thought twice about having a quality medical kit in
I get it. Tourniquets just aren’t as sexy as the latest Glock
you’ve had your eye on, or that new combat folder you’ll probably only use to
open Amazon boxes. Trust me, I get it because I’m the same way.
It’s easy to understand that dealing with trauma is
stressful. Emergencies are usually unexpected, and the surprise of a life-threatening
injury can throw even a normally calm person into panic.
This is especially the case when you don’t have any training
in first aid since you aren’t sure what to do. I know well what that particular
feeling is like. I have been the one standing there looking at a life-threatening
injury and not knowing what to do about it. It’s a terrible feeling and one I
work to avoid whenever I can.
Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid that feeling of helplessness,
and since it’s affected me so strongly, I’ve put a lot of thought into how it
can be dodged. Here’s one technique for how to manage panic in an emergency.