Figure 3-10. Example of a flail chest.
3-18. TREAT A CASUALTY WITH A FLAIL CHEST
a. Immobilize the Fracture. Tape a pillow, folded blanket, field jacket, or
poncho in place over the fractures to act as a splint. Have the casualty lie on his
injured side. The ground acts like a splint to help restrict movement. This position
also helps to reduce pain.
Do not wrap the casualty's chest with tape since the pressure could
interfere with the casualty's respirations.
b. Monitor and Evacuate Casualty. Monitor the casualty's breathing. If the
casualty has difficulty breathing, establish and maintain an open airway. Assist with
the casualty's respirations (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation), if needed. Administer
oxygen if it is available. Observe the casualty for signs and symptoms of tension
pneumothorax and hemothorax. Evacuate the casualty as soon as possible.
3-19. CHECK FOR A COMPRESSION INJURY
A compression injury is caused by the sudden and severe circumferential
compression of the rib cage. It can be caused by a motor vehicle accident, cave-in,
fall, or other source of severe blunt chest injury. Signs and symptoms of a
compression injury include the following.
a. Multiple rib fractures, which may included a flail chest.
b. A feeling of increased pressure within the chest.