In a previous shooting course I attended we had a block of medical instruction for dealing with gun shot wounds, frag, or anything for that matter that causes traumatic bleeding. The instructor is a former Navy SEAL and is TCCC certified. He has had his share of plugging up bullet holes in guys, administering tourniquets, and dealing with a host of other injuries wrapped around gun fighting in austere environments. The dude knows his stuff to say the least, so I’m going to share a little of what he covered. I feel that this is an important subject these days with all the violence erupting around us. He started the block of medical instruction with covering the 4 items you must carry in your medical kit, so that’s what I’m going to cover. Like I said I’m going off of the training he conducted. I’m in no way a medical expert or giving you advice.
The 4 MUST have items:
Tourniquet – It’s pretty obvious what this is for; to shut down the blood flow to an extremity. There are only 4 places to place a tourniquet (high up on either arm and high up in the pelvic crease of each leg), that’s it. Some tips and tricks for the CAT-T…
• Preload the tourniquet with about 2 to 3 inches of the tail fed through the buckle, fold it up, and leave the white ‘time’ piece from going across the area the handle locks into.
• When you put the tourniquet on, make sure that the tail is facing you (inward). This will place the handle on top for you to tighten the tourniquet down after securing the strap to the velcro
• These CAT-T tourniquets contain no metal so they can pass through metal detectors making them ideal to travel with and have on you at all times
You also need to be aware of how to improvise a tourniquet from a shirt, bandanna, or any piece of cloth.
Another tip to know is how to create a stop gap on someone else until you can get a tourniquet on them. Typically this involves putting your knee either high up on their arm or high up on their leg (depending on the location of the injury) to put pressure on the arteries and slow the blood flow.
Hemostatic Gauze – This gauze is perfect for gun shot wounds, cuts from frag, or any other deep cut that has caused arterial bleeding. Open the package of gauze and start to pack the wound with gauze until you have the remaining gauze packed on top of the wound. At this point you would apply the pressure dressing. The gauze the instructor preferred as well as the SEAL Teams is Celox Hemostatic Gauze.
Pressure Bandage – The pressure dressing would be applied to the area you just packed with hemostatic gauze. The purpose of this is to keep constant pressure on the wound allowing the gauze to do its work and stop the bleeding. A pressure bandage can also be used to secure the handle of the CAT tourniquet or an improvised tourniquet. Our instructor had an ACE bandage with velcro in his personal kit, but he also likes the Israeli trauma bandages.
Chest Seal – The chest seal is to be used for gun shot wounds high in the chest area. They are extremely easy to apply. Just apply one seal over the entry wound on the chest. Check the back for an exit wound and cover that with a second chest seal. By applying this seal to the chest wound you are slowing down the loss of air from the lungs which would result in a collapsed lung. This won’t stop that from happening, but will certainly buy you time until the patient gets to a hospital or paramedics arrive on scene. HALO Chest Seals come in a two pack allowing you to purchase one pack to handle both entry and exit wounds.
These are the four basic components your medical kit should contain. They are each simple to use and apply. Anymore more than this will more than likely involve follow on medical training. These 4 items almost anybody can learn to use and apply. The only other piece of kit he recommended having is a pair of Trauma Shears for cutting clothing.