Forums / Strategies, Tactics & Training / Treating wounds, pt 5 Evaluating a casualty (step 4)

7 years 48 weeks ago, 12:07 PM


runawaygun762's picture

Vice President
Join Date:
Nov 2008
Richland, MO, United States

4- Check for bleeding. There are a few types of bleeding, but really only four that we're concerned with.

Arterial- Arterial blood is the blood that has been oxygenated and is on its way to the rest of the body. it is bright red in color and usually spurts with the beat of the heart.

Veinous- Veinous blood is the blood that has delivered the oxygen and is returning with waste products. It is darker red blood that flows out of the wound

Capillary- Capillary blood is the blod found in the extremities and nearer the surface. When you cut your thumb on a broken bottle of vodka, the blood coming out is capillary. It isn't as dangerous, as the volume isn't usually the same as the previous two, but it can look very bad and cause the casualty to get excited about it, which is not conducive to staying out of shock.

Lung- This isn't really a specific type of bleeding, but it's very important to know what is looks like. If you see pink, frothy blood coming from the chest, it is a sign that the casualty has a penetrating chest wound, and that means at least one lung is compromised.

There are any number of ways of checking for bleeding. The most important thing to do is have a system. I'll describe my system, the one I teach my troops.

Ideally, you will have already gotten the casualty onto his back for the breathing, so when I talk about sides, I'll talk about them with this assumption. That means when I say the front, that's the side that is facing upward.

I break the body into sectors for quick coverage with no missed areas and very few overlaps. I start at the head and make a quick visual sweep down the front side, closest to me, looking for obvious signs of bleeding (bloody or wet spots on the clothing and obvious wounds). I then go back to the head, and make a visual sweep of the opposite side in the same fashion.

Once the front is done, I do the back. You have to be careful not to move the casualty too much, because you haven't checked for a spinal injury yet. Going palm up, I put my hands together, like when you're going to splash water on your face. I then slide my hands under the back of the head, feeling for soft spots. i pull my hands out and look at them. Any bleeding will show up with blood on my palms. I continue down the body, doing the same thing all the way down, slightly overlapping my search area. I move to the other side and do the same thing.

Then I check the extremities, starting with the armpits down toward the hands. When I do the legs, I use a knifehand and push it up their ass crack, checking the edge as rectal bleeding can be an indicator of internal bleeding. I then use both hands to check the groin, and move down the legs to the feet. One arm and one leg at a time.

This technique also allows me to check for fractures and spinal injuries at the same time, but I'll keep each step separate and let you guys decide your own technique

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.

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