Figure 4-1. Casualty with an open abdominal wound positioned with his knees flexed.
TREAT FOR SHOCK
Treat the casualty for shock (Lesson 7). Even if the signs and symptoms of shock
are not immediately present, performing measures to control shock should be your first
concern. If heavy internal bleeding is not present and the organs are not perforated, the
casualty's life is not in immediate danger from the injury itself. A casualty should be
treated for shock whether he has an open or closed abdominal injury.
EXPOSE THE OPEN ABDOMINAL WOUND
Fully expose the wound area so you can see the full extent of the injury. Tear, cut,
push, and/or lift the casualty's clothing from the area. Loosen any clothing or equipment
that binds the casualty. Some special considerations are given in the following
a. Chemical Environment. If you are in a chemical environment, do not expose
the wound as this would increase the casualty's exposure to the chemical agents. Dress
the wound without further exposing the wound.
b. Stuck Material. If clothing or other material is stuck to the wound area, cut or
tear around the stuck material. Do not remove the stuck material since removing the
material might cause additional damage to the wound. Apply the envelope and dressing
over the stuck material.
c. Debris in Wound. Do not try to clean the wound or remove objects or debris
from the wound.
d. Protruding Object. If an object is protruding from the wound, do not remove
the object. The impaled object is stabilized with bulky dressings after the dressing is
applied to the wound.