Stop Serious Bleeding

  • Apply firm, even pressure to the wound with a dressing, clean cloth, or sanitary napkin. If you don’t have any of these, use your bare hand until you can get something better. Loss of 1 or 2 quarts of blood will seriously endanger the patient’s life.
  • Stopping bleeding from the ears by packing dressing into the ear canal could cause more serious injury.
  • Hold the dressing in place with your hand until you can bandage the wound. In case of an arm or leg wound, make sure the bandage is not so tight as to cut off circulation; and raise the arm or leg above the level of the patient’s heart (if the arm or leg appears broken, splint it first).
  • Treat the patient for shock (see next section).
  • If blood soaks through the dressing, do not remove the dressing. Apply more dressings.
  • Never use a tourniquet unless you cannot stop excessive, life-threatening bleeding by any other method. If you are forced to use a tourniquet to stop the patient from bleeding to death, follow these instructions:
    1. Place the tourniquet as close to the wound as possible, between the wound and the patient’s heart.
    2. After the tourniquet has been applied, do not permit it to be loosened by anyone except a physician who can control the bleeding and replace the blood that the patient has lost.
    3. Get a physician to treat the patient as soon as possible.