Section II. CONTROLLING EXTERNAL BLEEDING FROM A WOUND
ON AN EXTREMITY
LOCATE THE WOUND
Look and feel for amputations, bloody clothing, wounds, and pools of blood. If
the bleeding is severe enough to threaten the casualty's life (heavy bleeding from an
artery or a large vein or bleeding from a major amputation), treat it as soon as it is
discovered. Less serious bleeding can be controlled during the tactical field care
EXPOSE THE WOUND
After locating the wound area, fully expose the wound so you can see the full
extent of the injury. Tear, cut, push, or lift the casualty's clothing from the area. Some
special considerations are given in the following paragraphs.
a. Care Under Fire. Expose only the area necessary to apply a tourniquet
during this phase.
b. Tactical Field Care. Expose the area to fully evaluate the wound and
assess further for entry and exit wounds. Be aware that you and the casualty may still
be at risk of re-engagement by the enemy and the casualty may need his body armor.
Hypothermia is also a major consideration even in extreme heat. With loss of blood,
the casualty's body may not be able to compensate. Appropriate steps should be
taken to prevent hypothermia since hypothermia also inhibits the clotting process.
c. Chemical Environment. If you are in a chemical environment (chemical
agents present), do not expose the wound since this would increase the casualty's
exposure to the chemical agents. Apply a tourniquet or place a field dressing over the
wound and clothing and secure with the attached bandages, as appropriate. Evacuate
the casualty as soon as possible.
e. Spinal Injury. If you suspect the casualty has a spinal injury, use scissors
from your aid bag to cut the clothing rather than tearing it. Cutting the clothing keeps
movement of the casualty to a minimum.
f. Fractured Limb. If the bleeding is from a limb and you suspect the limb is
fractured (limb in an abnormal position), use scissors to cut the clothing to keep
movement of the limb to a minimum.
g. Entry and Exit Wounds. Look for both an entry wound and an exit wound.
If more than one wound is found, treat the more serious wound (the wound that is
bleeding the most or the larger wound) first.