Typical wounds encountered by a First Responder

First responders may be called to a fall for example, but the caller has no reported bleeds, usually because they say what they see..or think they see.

When the First Responder arrives on scene and discovers on primary or secondary survey that there are wounds, it is useful to be able to describe the wound or report the type.

The most common types of wounds are:

Think of a scalpel, very sharp craft knife, glass cut. Tissue isn’t usually missing from the wound site. Closure is easier because the edges of the wound can be matched from one side of the wound to the other.

Think of jagged edges, more like a tear. Could be caused by a serrated edge or impact on tissue where there is bone immediately behind, like a shin or edge of wrist.

Stab wound, nail gun, standing on a sharp object, bullet wound – may appear small but could be deep and possibly damaging nerves, blood vessels, or internal organs and secondary injuries such as collapsed lung. Also known as penetrating trauma.

Abrasion Friction burn, sliding on road after a blast or road traffic accident. Usually capillary bleeding and no penetrating damage.

Bruising, impact from a blunt instrument or hard surface. Little or no blood loss.

A flap of skin exposing deep tissue and possibly bone, sometimes called ‘degloving’. Could be the eyeball dislodged or abdominal cavity exposing intestines.

Complete loss of a limb
Stop the bleeding, preventing the patient from going into shock, and remember to prevent infection.

Think S.E.E.P

Sit or lay the casualty down.
Examine the wound. Look for embedded objects, remember what the wound looks like so you can describe it to the ambulance crew after it dressed.

Elevate the wound. Ensure that the wound is above the level of the heart.

Pressure Apply direct or indirect pressure to stem bleeding.