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Handling Emergencies Like a Pro: Part 1

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.

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How Long Can You Leave A Tourniquet Before Amputation?

Tourniquets are a frequent topic of discussion on the Mountain Man Medical YouTube channel and I’ve been seeing a lot of rumors. Most of these rumors come from the old ways of doing things.

All medicine is constantly changing, year to year and sometimes month to month as scientists and doctors search for the best way to keep a person alive, and trauma is no exception.

If you haven’t had any medical training for a few years you might not be up to date on the latest techniques for managing trauma. One of the most common myths I see pop up is this:

“Tourniquets are a last resort. If you apply a TQ, the victims injured limb will be amputated.”

Not only is this wrong, but it’s very dangerous.

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Rangers Lead the Way with Innovative War Medicine

75th Ranger Regiment Medic
Photo: U.S. Army

History was made by Staff Sergeant Charles Bowen and Sergeant Ty Able one long night in Afghanistan when they utilized a brand-new procedure developed by the Army to keep our nations warriors in the fight.

The Ranger O Low Titer (or ROLO as the troops know it), uses a live donor to supply combat medics with a fresh supply of blood on the battlefield.

Bowen and Able were conducting operations with their unit, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in the Wardak province of Afghanistan in the summer of 2019.

Work for the medics began after the Rangers were attempting to dislodge a barricaded shooter. Three soldiers were injured by an explosion and the two units of blood every Ranger medic carries was quickly used up treating the casualties.

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The SWAT-T is the Best Backup Tourniquet

Having a commercial, purpose-made tourniquet ready to go in an emergency is essential for keeping someone alive. Trying to build your own on the spot takes time you don’t have and won’t be nearly as effective as something like the CAT.

And no, your belt is not an acceptable substitute of a quality tourniquet. I run into people all the time that say they would just use their belt to control a life-threatening bleed because they haven’t stopped to think about how it might actually be done.

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3 Degrees: How to Treat Burns

File:House fire using gasoline.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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.

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3 Degrees: Understanding Burn Injuries

Molotov cocktail - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to the CDC, over 1 million people a year are reported to have burns that require medical attention. These burns can come from a lot of different factors, from thermal burns like exposure to a heat source, or from chemicals.

With the rioting and looting going on in America today, the Molotov Cocktail is seeing a come back and understanding how to care for a burn patient might be important.

Let’ s first examine the 3 classifications of burns.

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A Successful Rescue

This is a follow up to the article, Why You Shouldn’t Try to Rescue Someone in Danger. If you haven’t read it, go check it out and this will make more sense.

To help your memory, here are the 3 main points of why it’s a good idea to leave a rescue to the professionals:

  1. You aren’t trained
  2. You don't have a team helping you
  3. You might do more harm than good

Emergencies are dangerous situations. Not only for the victim, but also for the rescuers. This is why we have rescue experts like firefighters, police officers, and search and rescue teams who train often on how to be successful.

But, if you don’t have a choice and need to attempt a rescue before help arrives, here are some things to consider so you increase your chances for success.

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Why’d You Put That in Your Med Kits? Part: 2

Yellowstone Trauma Kit

In the last post I talked about why I chose to include the default SWAT-T Tourniquets in our kits, instead of the North American Rescue Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT). Hopefully that left you with a good perspective and a look at the rest of the items will help to clear up anything that’s still a little muddy.

Pouch

The included pouch has been upgraded with quality zippers since they are the first to fail on every medical bag I’ve carried in the field.  In an effort to ensure they don’t degrade when you need it most, the zippers have been designed for heavy use.

The MOLLE webbing allows it to be strapped to bags or war belts, and the grab handle gives you a firm purchase for ripping it out of the bottom of a backpack, or a good grip while sprinting to the scene of an emergency. There is plenty of hook and loop space for a name tape or a medical patch for quick identification by everyone.

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Why’d You Put That in Your Med Kits?

The Yellowstone Trauma Kit

Not everyone has a background in medicine and may not fully understand the wide variety of gear that’s available on the market. Those people tend to take me at my word that the items in the Mountain Man Medical kits are the best options for the widest number of situations.

Others have asked why I chose one product over another and their questions are completely justified. The market for medical gear is huge and getting bigger every day as new companies look for better methods and innovations for keeping people alive.

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Trauma Emergencies and the COVID-19 Outbreak

Everyone is talking about it. Everyone. I haven’t had a single conversation in the last 3 weeks that hasn’t included something about the Corona virus outbreak. While not exactly the apocalypse, times are even more tense then usual and America is bracing itself to weather the coming storm.

The future is as unclear as ever and worried citizens are buying out stores and stocking up on survival essentials. Like toilet paper.

Likewise, law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders are preparing for the worst, and hospitals are expecting to be swamped with pandemic patients.

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