First Aid for Stab Victims
Whether someone approaches you with a stab wound, or you find a victim lying on the floor, you can offer help by following some basic first aid steps. Stab wounds are life threatening because they can lead to excessive blood loss, which can cause death. It is therefore critical to make all efforts necessary to prevent the wound from bleeding profusely. First aid for stab wounds revolves around stopping the bleeding and keeping the victim calm until medical help arrives.
What You Need to Know about the Stab Object
When people encounter a stabbed victim, the first instinct that comes to mind is to remove the object that caused the wound. However, if the stabbing object is still embedded on the victim, do not attempt to remove it. Doing so could cause more damage to the surrounding tissues, and especially in the case of a serrated blade. If the wound is aggravated further, more bleeding may occur, which may lead to death.
How to Proceed with First Aid for Stab Wounds
Before providing first aid to a stab victim, call for emergency help. If there are other people around, ask someone to call 911. The first thing to do is to stop the bleeding and immobilize the victim. If the stabbing object is still on the victim, pad its surroundings with gauze or with a clean cloth material. It is important not to move the object so that further bleeding may be avoided. If the object has been removed, apply pressure on the wound with a clean cloth.
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Once the bleeding is under control, it is also important to reduce blood flow to the stab wound. If the wound is on the chest or abdomen, keep the victim in a half-sitting position. For a stab on the limbs, raise them above the heart level to reduce blood circulation to the wound.
Treat the Victim for Shock
Stab victims could suffer shock following excessive blood loss. The victim might complain of feeling cold, therefore get a blanket or something warm to cover him or her. Continue reassuring and comforting the victim as this helps to keep him or her calm. Remember not to move the stab victim from the location of the incident. This could cause the wound to open and bleed. All the while, make sure to apply pressure on the padded wound to prevent it from opening until medical help arrives.