Research is a vital component to medical care. Without medical researchers constantly developing new techniques and testing the effectiveness of old ones, we’d still be stuck with medieval era medicine.
Thankfully, the medical world is a constantly changing and shifting environment, which is why we no longer drill holes in our patient’s head to let out evil spirits and cure mental illness.
Progress is a good thing, and we need to continually question why we do what we do, and if there's a better way.
It’s impossible to be prepared at all times and knowing what to do when you don’t have any medical gear can be the literal difference between life and death.
Even a paramedic with a fully stocked ambulance has finite supplies, and if the situation is bad enough, anyone could easily run out.
If you haven’t already read what to do for bleeding, make sure you check that out before you continue with this article so everything makes sense.
Sucking chest wounds are treated quickly and effectively with the quick application of a chest seal. Penetrating trauma to the chest can cause a Tension Pneumothorax (TPT), a potentially life-threatening condition, but how can you treat it with no medical gear?
When I was a kid, I tragically suffered through long, boring car rides. Nothing to do but watch the landscape crawl by and fight with siblings.
During those times my mind would often wander to how amazing it would be, to live in the future where I would be able to watch shows on a personal little TV. One that floats in front of my face, of course, since it's the future.
While we’re still far from the floating TV I imagined, we carry far more useful items in our pockets. Smart phones have created a lot of social problems in the world, but there is no denying the value of having an “all-knowing” device in our pockets, ready at moment’s notice.
Not all of us have the time, or inclination, to regularly attend medical training to keep those skills sharp and ready to go when a life is on the line. Smart phones allow us to have the ability to expand our readiness.
Below are ways to supplement your training and keep important, potentially life saving information at your thumbs. These are the top-rated apps on Google Play Store and what I think of them after playing around with each.
Not intuitive or set up in a way that makes it easy to find the right topic in an emergency.
Lots of ads. Some that pop up in the middle of looking at important information.
Doesn’t seem designed with emergency use in mind.
No descriptive pictures
Doc’s Rating: 1
This app is not well thought out and is clunky to use and not very informative. Not only is there no emergency section so you can use it when someone is bleeding to death, it offers nothing in the way of pictures to describe what’s being discussed.
The multiple adds were frustrating with some popping up in the middle of my attempt to find a section talking about severe blood loss, which I never found by the way.
Bad Tourniquet advice under “What not to do” section of Hemorrhage.
Confusing description of how to Improvise a TQ
Says to remove the Tourniquet if bleeding is controlled!
Uses precise medical terms like “Asphyxia” that most people won’t know.
Doc’s Rating: 1.5
Slightly better than the pervious app, this one likes to use expensive words that are likely to go over the head of anyone who isn’t an expert on medical trauma. The information in the app appears to be outdated as many of the techniques described have long ago been discarded. Use this one with the understanding it could be wrong.
Easy to use interface. Finding the right section is intuitive and quick
Includes Videos about injuries, (but not good ones)
No “Severe Bleeding” section
Not designed for quick emergency use.
Doc’s Rating: 2
This app is easy to use, but appears to be more centered on non-emergency first aid. To get a higher rating from me would require some effort put into emergency trauma. When you need information in a life-or-death scenario, you need it immediately. Basic first aid, like how to stop a nosebleed, can wait a few minutes while you look it up on Google, making this app useless in my opinion.
First Aid Canadian Red Cross: Same as American Red Cross
IFRC: Same as Red Cross
Doc’s Rating: 4
This is a great app, and held the top spot for quite a while until unseated by the next contestant for the number one spot. The app is well designed with an intuitive layout making it easy and quick to use. It does offer a couple of poorly done videos, but at least the pictures are decent to show examples.
Easy to use lay out that would work well in an emergency
Call 911 right from the App
Find a hospital on the App
Must have an Email Account attached to it.
No description of how to apply a tourniquet
Might not be able to find a hospital or call an ambulance in the US
Doc’s Rating: 4.5
This is the best apps I’ve seen, easy. It’s not made for only the US, so there could be things that don’t apply to your location. The app is easy to use and it’s quick to find the right topic you’re searching for. The use of great quality, 30 second videos also stands out here to show exactly what you need to do. This app is worth a look and the best one I’ve personally tested.
Knowing how to use the equipment you have available is a key detail for saving lives. If you don’t understand how your gear works and what it’s doing when you deploy it, the effectiveness can be drastically reduced.
This is especially true for tourniquets. It’s not enough to simply buy lifesaving equipment, then never learn how to use it right. I have seen many occasions where a person had a quality TQ like the CAT but didn’t use it correctly.
There is a myth about tourniquets that it should be loosened every so often to allow some blood to flow back into the limb. This, supposedly, is so the limb is getting oxygenated blood to the limb and it will therefore not need to be amputated.
The Yellowstone and Sweetwater trauma kits, our flagship products, hit the market to wide acclaim and remain very popular with our customers.
But now comes the time to release the next installment in our line of quality medical gear.
We take great pride as a company to provide the best possible gear at prices affordable for everyone, and requests have been flooding in for us to sell a more comprehensive kit able handle everything from major trauma to minor injuries.
The hardest part about emergency trauma care is managing the chaos that tends to invade every situation. Basic first aid is surprisingly simple, but the nature of it being an emergency rachets up the stress and quickly makes those simple things surprisingly difficult.
So, since the hard part of emergencies is really just about managing high levels of stress, how can we be more effective first responders?
Professionals are no different then you, they just have better methods of managing the stress. Let’s look at some of the ways to prevent being overwhelmed when everything and everyone around you seems to be falling apart.