The CAT Tourniquet by North American Rescue has long been the king of trauma medicine. A large reason for this has been the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) approving it as an acceptable way to control massive bleeding in trauma patients on the battlefield.
CoTCCC is a government funded think tank made up of experienced nurses, doctors, and combat medics from all military branches, who evaluate the procedures of war medicine and release guidelines that are designed to improve the odds of survival from otherwise life-threatening wounds.
New companies are attempting to seek out a position of their own, challenge the king, and collect a portion of the market which the CAT has held with such a distinct lead. But to do that, they must first have their products vetted by the Committee.
At some point you outgrow those basic weapons classes at your local gun range and require more advanced instruction from world class shooters and Warfighters.
One of things I am most proud of America for, is the warrior subculture. This unique little niche is full of military veterans and active duty, but also civilians from all walks of life.
There are many gun owners in the world, but few “Students of the Gun.” Many assume that to be one means you must have some sort of credentials or you aren’t legitimate, but some of the most accomplished shooters I know are civilians who never once put on the boots.
I’ve known just as many veterans boasting incredible shooting skills who don’t even know where the safety is on that shiny new rifle they bought.
A good medic takes pride in being able to make do with less. Emergency medicine almost never happens in a place when you have every resource at your disposal.
Unless you’re shot in a hospital, odds are good you’ll be severely limited in the type of gear you need to save a life.
Bleeding control is of course the most time sensitive issue for any trauma. Bleeding must be stopped at the earliest opportunity or the casualty may not recover from serious wounds.
Fortunately, bad extremity bleeds are relatively simple to control with the right tools. Tourniquets (TQ) enjoy a good track record for saving lives because they are quick and easy to apply and anyone can learn how to do it effectively in a short time.
But if you don’t have the right tools for the job, survival rates start to drop significantly. Since tourniquets appear to be very simple devices, sometimes it’s assumed you can just quickly make one on the spot and save the day.
But since this is Real Life, things don’t always work like it seems they should.
Your first choice should NOT be to make an improvised Tourniquet.
We’ve been listening to requests to come out with a bigger, more robust kit capable of handling everyday medical annoyances like headaches and minor lacerations.
Trauma gear is vitally important of course, but fortunately not used on a day-to-day basis. More often, minor problems can take the wind out of your sails and make even small tasks a huge chore. Having a few basic items on hand to treat things like allergies, nausea, and small burns can quickly make you a hero with your friends and family.
If you’re just jumping into this article, go check out the last article I wrote explaining the degrees of burns and some of the risk factors associated with them. This way, you’ll better understand what I’m talking about in this next in the series about how to treat this type of emergency.
I'll start this off with saying burns are nothing to screw around with. Not only can they be very dangerous, but burns are very painful.
In my circle of friends and family I am the community medic and I get calls asking about one thing or another. Whenever I get questions about burns, I always recommend the victim gets seen at a hospital.
This ensures they are treated for their injury and keep it from getting worse, but perhaps more motivating is that the burn victim will be able to get some relief from the pain.
Burns are extremely painful. Even a mild sunburn is uncomfortable, so any injury causing a serious burn is likely to be excruciating. Go to the hospital so the victims pain is managed to acceptable levels.
How to Treat a Burn
Put out the Fire
One of the risks of treating a burn is becoming a burn victim yourself by not making sure the fire is out before touching the casualty. Scene Safety is a very important aspect to emergency medicine. Don’t become another victim in your attempt to take care of the casualty.
Your skin is the largest organ of the human body and responsible for many different things relating to maintaining homeostasis.
One of the important things that skin does is protect the body from bacteria. If the skin is cut, scraped, scratched, torn, punctured, or compromised in anyway, the barricades are down and open for the enemy to get in.
This is why we’ve learned from a young age that we need to keep our wounds clean. In the last article I explained amputations and focused primarily on the hands since they are one of the more come places for appendages to go MIA.
Hands can take a beating, and paying attention to even small cuts and scrapes can help you avoid serious, and potentially life-threatening infections.