Bleeding assessment

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Addressing Catastrophic Bleeding: A Crucial Skill for Life-Saving

In the under-40 age group, catastrophic bleeding ranks as a primary cause of death. Rapid and effective treatment can drastically improve survival chances.

Immediate Assessment and Action

Firstly, one must promptly identify if the individual is experiencing a lethal rate of bleeding and consequently act to cease the flow. Consider half a standard 330-ml can of fizzy drink as a general guide - whilst this volume might appear insignificant if an equivalent amount of blood is lost and continues to bleed, the situation can quickly escalate to life-threatening. Therefore, it's crucial to intervene to halt or slow the bleeding swiftly.

The Pitfalls of Trauma Dressings

Exercise caution not to inadvertently obscure the severity of the issue. Many bleed kits include trauma dressings, highly effective in treating wounds, but they can conceal up to half a litre of blood before saturation is apparent. Reflecting on the soft drink can analogy, if the loss exceeds half the can's volume (approximately 165 millilitres), the bleeding could potentially be lethal. These trauma dressings can absorb more than triple this volume. Hence it's crucial to avoid being misled by the absence of visible bleeding.

The Utility of Haemostatic Dressings

This is where the application of haemostatic dressings such as Wound Clot proves beneficial. These dressings can be applied directly into the wound, subsequently forming a gel-like plug to obstruct the bleeding.

Assessing the Bleeding

In the course of assessing the bleeding, consider the blood flow. A constant flow might signify a venous bleed resulting from a severed vein. This blood is usually dark red, reflecting its return journey to the lungs for re-oxygenation. Alternatively, a bright red, spurting wound might indicate an arterial cut, with blood being expelled synchronously with each heartbeat. Both types of bleeding, if left unattended, could swiftly lead to death.

However, not all bleeds are life-threatening. A slow or oozing blood flow may not be immediately fatal, yet it still demands prompt attention as it could worsen. Deep cuts may seem innocuous, but blood may still be accumulating internally, or sudden movement could cause a damaged artery to rupture. Therefore, it is essential to assess the bleeding and monitor for changes continuously.

Initial Treatment and Communication with Medical Services

When treating a bleeding patient, execute a speedy assessment and strive to slow or stop the bleeding. Remember to note the colour of the blood and the flow rate. This information is vital to share with the emergency medical services upon their arrival.