First aid using Chris Sajnog's SMART Emergency Medicine

First Aid for Massive Bleeding: S.M.A.R.T. Emergency Medicine

In this post, I’m going to be covering the M in smart medicine, massive bleeding. So stick around for this life-saving information about first aid for massive bleeding.

I came up with smart emergency medicine which stands for scene safe, massive bleeding, airway, reassess, and then transport. Smart is a simple and effective system to respond to any medical emergency situation before medical personnel arrives, or the victim can be brought to a hospital.

If you haven’t read the previous post on making sure the scene is safe, make sure you read that first. If you skip any steps in the system, well, it’s not really a system now, is it? Okay, so I’m going to assume that you’re all caught up, and the scene is safe. 

First Aid for Massive Bleeding

What Is Massive Bleeding?

First, let’s define what massive bleeding is. It is when you see blood pooling or flowing or squirting out. It’s not just small cuts that are bleeding, it’s bleeding that needs to be stopped immediately. Or it can lead to a life-threatening situation from blood loss so it’s very important to know first aid for massive bleeding.

To find bleeding, we need to do what’s called a blood sweep. Doing a blood sweep is not gingerly looking around to find bleeding. If someone watching you do a blood sweep thinks that you’re attacking that person, you’re actually off to a good start. 

Make sure to check everywhere and look at your hands to see if there’s blood on them. When you do find bleeding, you need to pause your sweep and stop that bleeding, because somebody can bleed out in as little as 30 seconds. And it’s not easy to simply put blood back into people.

Chris Sajnog demonstrates how to do a blood sweep.

Misconceptions About A.B.C’s

I’m often asked by my students why they’ve heard about the ABCs their whole lives.

The ABCs stand for:

  • airway
  • breathing
  • circulation. 

You may ask, “Why am I not following this so-called established system?” Well, because it’s not only wrong, it’s actually dangerous. The ABCs were never intended for first aid. It was a memory aid for healthcare workers to respond to cardiac arrests.

In 2010, the American Heart Association and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation changed their recommended order for CPR interventions for most cardiac arrest cases.

They changed it to C.A.B:

  • chest compressions
  • airway
  • breathing

This new system is still for CPR intervention, in cases of cardiac arrest, not trauma.

People can literally live after hours of not breathing. That’s why we don’t care if the airway is open right away, we will get to that later. But if this person is bleeding out, you need to stop that bleeding by any means.

Treat As You Go

You can remember this saying “Head-to-toe treats as you go.” As you’re doing your blood sweep, anytime you find heavy bleeding, stop the bleeding, then continue your blood sweep. It should seem obvious, but oftentimes common sense is not common knowledge. 

If you walk up to somebody and you see blood squirting out, you do not need to start a blood sweep, you need to stop that bleeding. If you’ve got a tourniquet, this is the time to use it and if you’ve got a belt, you’ve got a tourniquet. Patients got a belt, and you’ve got a tourniquet. Pants and a stick, bicycle tire inner tube, you get the idea. Stop the bleeding.

Something else to keep in mind if you don’t have any medical gear with you, as long as you carry a knife. Everyone around you is wearing an infinite supply of bandages.

Practice Makes Perfect

Make sure you practice the lesson you just learned about first aid for massive bleeding. Grab a friend or family member in practice doing blood sweeps on each other. Get some medical supplies, get a tourniquet, and practice putting them on yourself and those you love. Just reading this post won’t save anyone’s life. In the next post, I’ll be teaching you the A in smart medicine, airway, until then keep paving your path to perfection.

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