First-Aid For Bleeding From Accidents

Words: Dr Narayan C DESHPANDE

Q: I was at a site when an unexpected, unfortunate accident happened. There were just a few people around and none of them, as luck would have it, knew ‘how-to’ about first-aid. It was, of course, providence that the victim was saved, when a good Samaritan, who’s driving a car, stopped, and took the guy to hospital. It’d be great if you’d guide/help us understand the basics of injuries caused by accidents, and what one can do promptly — to save a life.

— JK, Guwahati

A: Bleeding may occur due to injury, while playing, running, or cutting something with a sharp blade, or knife, or being stabbed with a pointed weapon, or in a road accident. Blood is an important component of our body. It plays not only a vital role in respiration, nutrition, excretion, and defence, it is also a carrier of water, salts, hormones and other compounds needed to keep the functions of the body in balance, or homeostasis.

When there is excess, or heavy, loss of blood the victim may succumb. This is one reason why when there is profuse blood loss due to injury, immediate attention should be paid to arrest the bleeding.

It makes perfect sense for each of us to have preliminary knowledge about the simple procedures to be followed to control haemorrhage [bleeding], so that the patient’s life can be saved.

Remember —

  • In arterial bleeding, bright red blood flows from the artery in spurts; the blood loss is often rapid and profuse
  • In venous bleeding, dark-red, or dark coloured blood, flows from the vein steadily, without any spurt and the blood loss may be moderate to profuse
  • In capillary bleeding, red blood (less bright than the arterial blood) flows from a bed of capillaries slowly and the blood loss is minimal.

Do’s

  • Apply direct, firm pressure with your hand over the bleeding part, immediately
  • Maintain the pressure, let the victim lie [down] in a comfortable position. In case of minor bleeding, they may be allowed to sit. But, when the blood loss is profuse, they should be kept lying on their back in a well-ventilated place
  • While exerting pressure, slip a thick sterile dressing, or pad, under your hand
  • Apply pressure until bleeding stops — this may take 10-30 minutes, or longer
  • Hold the dressing in place with bandages and the knot should stay put over the wound
  • When no sterile first-aid equipment is available immediately, clean pieces of cloth, towels or fabric, can be used
  • Keep the bleeding part elevated (particularly when a limb is injured) and as still as possible to facilitate clotting.

Bleeding From Nose

  • Let the individual sit slightly leaning forward with a bowl in front and a towel covering the upper part of the body and neck (leave head and face uncovered)
  • Apply pressure over the soft lower part of the nose between the thumb and index finger, without interruption — at least for ten minutes
  • Ensure breathing through the mouth, while closing the nose.

Tooth Socket Bleeding

  • Sometimes sudden bleeding may occur from the socket of the tooth a few hours after the tooth has been extracted.
  • The patient should bite hard, on a thick pad of sterile cotton, cloth, or handkerchief, placed across the socket area, for ten minutes. If ten minutes is not effective, they may maintain pressure for another ten minutes.

Bleeding From Ear

Place a clean pad over the whole of the affected ear and bandage it tightly. Let the patient sleep, while keeping the affected side of the ear over the pillow.

Seek Doctor’s Help

Call in a doctor immediately after the first-aid measures are instituted, or take the patient to a nearby hospital, with utmost care, preferably in an ambulance.

Don’ts

  • Don’t leave the patient alone
  • Or, apply pressure by themselves
  • Or, wash their hands
  • Or, collect the dressing and bandage materials.

If you do so — remember, time is of great essence — the victim may succumb by the time you turn up, when there is heavy bleeding. So, act promptly with materials close at hand.

  • Don’t rub the bleeding wound with cloth, or cotton — this may injure the damaged vessels and aggravate the bleeding
  • Never replace any dressing, once it is soaked with blood
  • Never use a tourniquet to control mild, or moderate, bleeding
  • Never insert cotton, or cloth, into the ear to arrest bleeding, because it will further annoy the injured part and favour infection
  • In case of bleeding from nose, don’t introduce gauze, or put fluid into the nose; also, don’t allow the patient to sniff, or blow, their nose. This may irritate the damaged tissues, favour infection and annoy the clotting mechanism.

Homeopathy

There are certain homeopathic remedies that act well in arterial and capillary bleeding, viz., Arnica montana, Millefolium, Belladonna, Aconitum napellus, Strontium carbonicum, and Staphysagria. Strontium carbonicum is famously called the ‘Surgeon’s Friend.’

There are certain remedies preferred in venous bleeding, viz., Hamamelis virginica, Aesculus hippocastanum, and Acid Nitricum.

Ledum palustre is evidenced to be a homeopathic tetanus toxoid.

The remedies are often administered in 6C to 200C potencies.

NB: It is imperative for one to seek the guidance and supervision of a professional homeopath at all times. Self-treatment should be strictly avoided.

Dr NARAYAN C DESHPANDE, BSc, MD [Hom], is Officiating Professor & HOD, A H Medical College, Bengaluru. He’s also Professor Emeritus, and former in-charge Principal, Government Homeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Bengaluru, former PG Guide, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, former PG Examiner, Mangalore University, MGR University of Health Sciences, Chennai, Health University, Salem, former Health Expert, Karnataka Public Service Commission, Bengaluru. A recipient of the prestigious Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Award for his 35+ years of commendable service to homeopathic education and alternative healthcare, Dr Deshpande lives in Bengaluru, India.

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