EST. May 2000 (AD)


Popular Columns:

Forget About Calling 911! You Can Treat Copiously Bleeding Flesh Wounds Yourself -- Here's How!

By Simone Briand

There comes a time in every woman's life when someone she loves or is forced to reside with lunges into cut glass or impales themselves on a sharp object, and she is faced with a hideous and profusely bleeding flesh wound. What to do?

Women who follow the handy tips below can cleanse, suture and dress any ghastly wound with the cool detachment of a seasoned medical professional and minimize nasty leakages onto the carpet. When word gets out around the neighborhood you may even be able to parlay your newfound skill into a money-making venture on the side, stitching up dog bites, resetting broken bones…the possibilities are endless.

First Things First - Assess The Damage

Quietly observe the wound to determine the severity of the cut, taking care not to scream or make retching sounds. Be the strong woman that you are and keep your repulsion at the sight of punctured visceral tissue to yourself. Treat the poor injured shlep as you would like to be treated - with a steady, unflinching hand. Remember, the only thing that separates you from the pros is they got to practice on dead people.

Rummage Aimlessly Through Your Medicine Cabinet

You're pretty sure you used the last Ace bandage three years ago, but look anyway. It will reassure the bleeding party that you are on the case, and it will get you out of the room so you won't have to watch them bleed.

Cobble Together A Rudimentary First-Aid Kit From Found Objects

Sure, conventional wisdom says you should already have a first-aid kit on hand, but since when are you conventional? Being prepared for medical mishaps flies in the face of your fresh, freewheelin' style. It just wouldn't be you.

Useful items you probably have lying around the house or garage: rags, string or thread, sewing needle, bicycle tube, hospital-quality cotton gauze or hot pads, rolling pin, elastic bands, some water, bullet for biting (for the patient).

Attempt To Stop The Bleeding

You may be tempted to skip this step, but it is crucial, as subsequent steps build on it. Work through your squeamishness and make the most of the situation by indulging in some harmless role-play. Pretend that you are a heroine in Civil War times, a vision of loveliness offering solace to a gunshot soldier, or better yet, re-live one of your favorite episodes from a television medical drama such as ER or Medical Center. Fantasizing about George Clooney, or Chad Everett, depending on your generational preference, will help get your mind off the sickly pools of blood forming around you.

Apply as much pressure to the wound as you can humanly muster. If that means sitting on the hapless schlub, do it. Now is no time to be shy. If applying bodily pressure fails to stem the tide, you may need to resort to using a tourniquet. This is where the bicycle tube comes in handy. Fashion a tourniquet around the wound as best you can remember from watching old movies. Blot excess blood with rags. Wait until bleeding slows to a lazy trickle.

Cleanse And Suture The Wound

You're going to want that bullet now. Since you haven't had time to sterilize anything, cleansing the wound is rather pointless. It's a minor detail anyway, with antibiotics so readily available. Concentrate your efforts instead on stitching up the wound. Thread your needle with the color thread of your choice. Blue always looks nice, and makes removal easier later, as it's easy to see. Suggest that your patient go to his or her "happy place" and wedge the bullet firmly between his/her teeth. Make straight, even stitches, avoiding cutesy curlicues or heart shapes.

Dress Wound

Hospital-quality gauze works best but if you are fresh out then a hot pad will do. Secure the hot pad or gauze snugly with a rubber band.

Success! You're done!

Congratulations! You've just performed a minor surgical technique and you've saved hundreds of dollars in emergency room costs to boot. Advise your patient to keep all blood scavengers away from the treated area and go fix yourself a stiff drink.

© 2006 Simone Briand


Simone Briand is a freelance writer living in Kansas City. She has no formal medical training but considers herself "self-taught", after successfully extracting a watermelon seed from her daughter's left nostril. When she's not patching up the freshly injured she likes to relax by playing the fiddle.