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Put on a Field Dressing, Pressure Dressing and Tourniquet

Apply a field dressing, elevation, manual pressure, a pressure dressing, and a tourniquet, as needed, to a wound on a casualty's limb

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Lesson 4
PUT ON A FIELD DRESSING,
PRESSURE DRESSING, AND TOURNIQUET

INTRODUCTION

If a casualty is loosing blood from a wound, you must take measures to control the bleeding. A field dressing can be applied to any wound which is bleeding heavily. If the wound is on an arm or leg, a pressure dressing can also be applied. If the bleeding still doesn't stop, a tourniquet can be placed around an upper arm or thigh, then tightened to stop the flow of blood below the band.

PUT ON A FIELD DRESSING,
PRESSURE DRESSING, AND TOURNIQUET

TASK

Apply a field dressing, elevation, manual pressure, a pressure dressing, and a tourniquet, as needed, to a wound on a casualty's limb.

CONDITIONS

Given a simulated casualty with bleeding from a limb and needed supplies.

STANDARD

Score a GO on the performance checklist.

EXPOSE THE WOUND

Cut (with scissors), tear, push, and/or lift the casualty's clothing from the area around the wound.

If clothing is stuck to the wound area, cut around the stuck material and leave that part of the clothing stuck to the wound.

If you are in a chemical environment, do not expose the wound. Apply the field dressing over the wound and clothing; then evacuate the casualty.

Expose the entire wound area so you can see the full extent of the injury.

Do not remove objects from the wound.

Look for both entry and exit wounds.

APPLY AND SECURE FIELD DRESSING

Use the casualty's field dressing.

If no field dressing is available, improvise a dressing and bandage using the cleanest cloth available.

If an impaled object is sticking out of the wound, stabilize the object with bulky dressing made from the cleanest material available. Then apply a bandage over the dressing.

Tear the plastic envelope of the field dressing and remove the field dressing, which is wrapped in paper.

Twist the paper wrapper until it breaks or tear it open.

Remove the field dressing.

Grasp the folded bandages/tails with both hands.

APPLY AND SECURE FIELD DRESSING

Hold the field dressing above the exposed wound with the white side of the dressing material toward the wound.

Pull on the tails so the dressing opens and flattens.

Do not touch the white sterile side of the dressing.

APPLY AND SECURE FIELD DRESSING

Place the dressing (white side) on the wound.

Place one hand on top of the dressing to hold the dressing in place.

The casualty can hold the dressing in place while you secure it.

APPLY AND SECURE FIELD DRESSING

Wrap one of the bandages around the injured limb with your free hand. As you wrap, cover one of the exposed sides of the dressing with the bandage. Bring the tail back over the dressing.

Wrap the other bandage around the injured limb in the opposite direction. As you wrap, cover the remaining exposed side of the dressing with the bandage. Bring the tail back to the dressing.

APPLY AND SECURE FIELD DRESSING

Tie the tails into a nonslip knot over the outer edge of the dressing, not over the wound itself. The bandage should be tight enough to keep the dressing from slipping, but not tight enough to interfere with blood circulation. You should be able to slip two fingers under the knot.

APPLY AND SECURE FIELD DRESSING

Check the circulation below the bandage.

If the area below the bandage previously had adequate blood circulation but is now cool to the touch, bluish, or numb or if a pulse can not be detected below the bandage, the bandage may be interfering with blood circulation. Loosen and retie the tails without disturbing the dressing.

Recheck the circulation. If circulation is not restored, evacuate the casualty.

APPLY MANUAL PRESSURE

Apply direct pressure over the dressing with your hand.

If possible, maintain this pressure for 5 to 10 minutes. The casualty may be able to apply the manual pressure himself.

If the limb is elevated, apply manual pressure and elevation at the same time.

ELEVATE THE INJURED LIMB

Examine the injured extremity for fractures before elevating the limb. If a fracture is suspected, do not elevate the wound until the limb has been splinted.

Elevate the injured limb above the level of the casualty's heart.

Elevate a leg by placing the foot and ankle on a pack, log, rock, or other object.

Elevate an arm by placing the forearm on the casualty's chest if lying on his back or by placing the wrist on top of the casualty's head if he is sitting.

APPLY A PRESSURE DRESSING

If blood continues to seep from the dressing applied to a limb, apply a pressure dressing.

A pressure dressing is applied only to a wound on an arm or leg.

Place a wad of material (folded muslin bandage) on top of the dressing and directly over the wound.

APPLY A PRESSURE DRESSING

Place a muslin bandage folded into a cravat over the wad and wrap the cravat tightly around the limb.

APPLY A PRESSURE DRESSING

Tie the ends of the cravat in a nonslip knot directly over the wound. You should be able to insert the tip of one finger under the knot.

APPLY A PRESSURE DRESSING

Check the circulation below the pressure dressing.

If the area below the pressure dressing previously had adequate blood circulation but is now cool to the touch, bluish, or numb or if a pulse can no longer be detected below the pressure dressing, loosen and retie the tails. This should not disturb any blood clot forming under the dressing.

Recheck the circulation. If circulation is not restored, evacuate the casualty.

Apply manual pressure over the pressure dressing.

If the wound continues to bleed, apply a tourniquet.

Other Dressings

The following dressings are found in FM 21-11.

DETERMINE WHEN A TOURNIQUET IS
NEEDED

Needed for a complete amputation of the upper arm, forearm, thigh, or lower leg (limb has been completely severed).

Apply tourniquet to amputated limb without applying field and pressure dressings.

Apply even if stump is not bleeding heavily.

Do not apply for amputation of a part of a hand or part of a foot. Bleeding from these wounds can be controlled by a pressure dressing.

Needed if the bleeding from a limb is severe and cannot be stopped by the application of a field dressing, manual pressure, elevation, and pressure dressing.

GATHER MATERIALS FOR MAKING A
TOURNIQUET

Tourniquet Band

Fold muslin bandage or other strong, pliable material into a cravat at least two inches wide.

Do not use wire or shoestrings for a tourniquet band.

Rigid Object

A rigid object, usually a stick, is used to tighten the tourniquet.

GATHER MATERIALS FOR MAKING A
TOURNIQUET

Securing Materials (if needed)

Additional cravat or securing material may be needed to secure the rigid object if the tourniquet band is not long enough.

Padding

Soft, smooth material to place between the limb and the tourniquet band. The casualty's shirt sleeve or trouser leg can be used.

SELECT A TOURNIQUET SITE

Select an upper arm or thigh site. If the wound is in the upper arm or thigh, select a site that is two to four inches above the edge of the wound or amputation site. If the wound is in the lower extremity, the ideal sites are still the upper arm and thigh just above the joint (elbow or knee).

Do not apply a tourniquet band over a joint or a fracture site.

APPLY A TOURNIQUET

Place padding around the limb where the tourniquet band will be applied to protect the skin from being pinched and twisted when the band is tightened.

Smoothing the casualty's shirt sleeve or trouser leg over the tourniquet site is sufficient.

Place the tourniquet band material around the tourniquet site.

Tie the band with a half knot (like first part of tying a shoestring).

Place the rigid object on top of the half knot.

Tie a full knot that will not come undone over the rigid object.

APPLY A TOURNIQUET

Twist the rigid object (clockwise or counterclockwise) until the tourniquet is tight and the bright red bleeding has stopped.

Generally, darker blood is from a vein and may continue to ooze even after the tourniquet has been properly applied.

There should be no pulse below the tourniquet.

APPLY A TOURNIQUET

Wrap the tails of the tourniquet band around the end of the rigid object so the rigid object will not untwist, bring the tails under the limb, and tie the tails in a nonslip knot.

APPLY A TOURNIQUET

If the rigid object cannot be secured with the tails of the tourniquet band, wrap a piece of material around the limb below the tourniquet, wrap the material around one end of the rigid object so the tourniquet will not unwind, and tie the tails of the material in a nonslip knot.

Do not loosen the tourniquet once it is in place and has stopped the blood flow. Loosening the tourniquet band would allow the wound to start bleeding again, which could be fatal.

Do not cover the tourniquet. Leave it in full view so it can be located quickly by medical personnel.

DRESS AN AMPUTATION

If the tourniquet is applied to an amputation, protect the amputation site (wound) from further contamination.

Place a dressing made of soft, absorbent material over the end of the stump and secure the dressing with bandages.

MARK THE CASUALTY

Write a "T" and the time of application on the casualty's forehead with a pen, the casualty's blood, mud, or other substance. The "T" alerts medical personnel that a tourniquet is present.

PUT ON A FIELD DRESSING,
PRESSURE DRESSING, AND TOURNIQUET

CLOSING

Failure to control bleeding in the field is the major cause of death among casualties who could be saved. It is vital that all soldiers learn the procedures for controlling bleeding presented in this lesson.

PUT ON A FIELD DRESSING,
PRESSURE DRESSING, AND TOURNIQUET

CLOSING

A tourniquet is to be applied to an amputated limb (not part of a hand or foot). When the wound on the extremity does not result in amputation, a tourniquet is used only as a last resort when blood loss from the wound endangers the casualty's life and the bleeding cannot be controlled by other methods. The portion of the limb below the tourniquet may need to be amputated when the casualty reaches a medical treatment facility.

Questions