How You Can Help If Someone Has Been Stabbed
Knife crime in the UK is sadly becoming a common occurrence, with stabbing incidents being reported on the news every day.
According to the BBC, there was a total of 39,818 knife crime offences in 2018, which has increased by two-thirds since 2014. Although stabbing has become most prevalent in London, other regions have also noted a spike in this sort of crime.
In light of this, we have put together a guide of what you can do to help if you encounter a stabbing casualty, before the emergency services arrive on the scene.
Minor Stab Wounds
A minor stab wound is classified as a ‘puncture wound,’ caused by anything that enters the skin. This type of wound may appear small, but is usually deep, carrying the risk of infection and internal damage.
Puncture wounds typically do not result in excessive bleeding, however, prompt treatment is required to lower the risk of infection. Firstly, you should apply pressure to the wound with a clean bandage or cloth to alleviate the bleeding. Once bleeding has stopped, you should take time to clean the wound with water to rid it of any dirt or debris. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound after it has been cleaned and then cover it with a bandage dressing, ensuring that this is changed at least once a day.
If the object that entered the skin is still embedded, it should not be removed, as it is likely to be stemming the bleed. Instead, sterile bandage or any other kind of dressings should be used to build up around the object, providing pressure and support. The patient must then seek medical help for the object to be safely removed.
In cases where bleeding is severe, it is important to remain calm and try and help the casualty as best as you can. If bleeding is not quickly controlled, then the patient is likely to develop shock and may even become unresponsive.
You should follow these steps to effectively help a stabbing victim before an ambulance arrives:
- Call for an ambulance.
- If you have access to a first aid kit, you should find some gloves and put these on before treating the patient.
- If the wound is covered by clothing, then you should try to cut through this and uncover it.
- You should apply direct pressure over the wound using sterile dressing. However, if there is an object embedded in the wound, you should apply pressure on either side of the object. Remember, the object should not be removed as this could be stemming the bleed.
- Help the casualty to lie down and elevate the bleeding area above the level of the heart to slow the bleeding.
- Apply a second dressing or change it completely if bleeding starts to come through and support the injured area with a sling or bandage.
- Monitor the patient’s breathing and pulse until emergency help arrives.
Shock occurs when vital organs like the brain and heart are not getting enough oxygenated blood, predominantly caused by a fall in blood volume or pressure. Symptoms of shock include pale, clammy skin, as the body’s response to shock is to shut down circulation to the skin. Other symptoms include sweating, rapid, weak pulse, shallow breathing, nausea, thirst and dizziness. Shock is a potentially life-threatening condition and must be treated immediately.
Firstly, you should lay the casualty on the floor and elevate their legs above the level of the heart. Ensure that any clothing is loosened around the neck, chest and waist and keep them warm, comfortable and reassured until medical help is on the scene. You should monitor the casualty’s breathing and airways, while being prepared to resuscitate.
Here To Help
We hope this has given you an insight into what you can do to help if you are ever in a situation where somebody has been stabbed. However, if you require further assistance or have any queries, feel free to tweet us @ImpTraining.