The Survival Doctor’s Latest Tips on Tourniquets

This is the Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T) by North American Rescue ($28.99*). Note the stick you can use to wind the tourniquet tighter. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH A tourniquet seems so simple. At its most basic, it’s just a strip of strong material. Its use seems simple too. You tighten it until the bleeding stops. Voilà. Life saved. But thanks to studies conducted over the last several years, the guidelines on tourniquets have become more sophisticated, causing emergency professionals to change how they use these lifesaving devices. Here’s the latest thinking, according to the research I’ve been reading. I’m eager to also hear from you if you’ve used a tourniquet in the field. What have you found works or doesn’t? […]

By | April 6th, 2015|Cuts, Skin|16 Comments

5 Life-Threatening Injuries That Are Totally Survivable During a Disaster—if You Know How

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I get a gnawing feeling in my stomach when I hear stories of people who died from an injury they might have survived if they’d just known a [...]

By | February 9th, 2015|Bones, Cuts, Other Wounds, Skin|8 Comments

Video: How to Apply a Tourniquet Properly

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Tourniquets have been on my mind lately. It’s a shame many people don’t know how to properly apply one to stop bleeding. It’s so easy. But, like most things, someone has to show you before you can learn. I read of a man bitten on his thigh by a beaver. The large femoral artery that runs from the groin down the inner thigh was severed, and the man bled to death. My first thought was, maybe he could have been saved if someone had known how to stop the bleeding—in particular, how to apply a tourniquet. […]

By | April 16th, 2013|Cuts, Skin, Videos|21 Comments

The Downside of Taking Aspirin: When Bleeding Won’t Stop

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I’m constantly amazed by the effect even the lowest dose of aspirin has on bleeding. I’ll be putting pressure on a cut, and the bleeding will just not be stopping. The person with the cut will have already told me they have no known bleeding disorders and haven’t taken any aspirin, and I’ll ask again. “Well, I did take something a few days ago. It may have had aspirin in it.” Or, “Oh, I do take a baby aspirin.” Voila. I have my answer. I’ll just have to apply pressure for ten minutes instead of five, Or twenty minutes instead of ten. Aspirin doesn’t stay in the system that long, but its effect on bleeding does. Here’s how. […]

By | March 12th, 2013|Cuts, Skin|17 Comments

Videos: Posterior Nasal Packing (or Stopping a Bad Rear Nose Bleed)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH These videos, courtesy YouTube users, demonstrate parts of the procedures I describe in “When Your Nose Won’t Stop Bleeding: Causes and Cures.” […]

By | March 6th, 2013|Other Wounds, Skin, Videos|1 Comment

When Your Nose Won’t Stop Bleeding: Causes and Cures

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH In my last post I wrote how to treat the vast majority of nose bleeds. But what do you do when these methods don’t work and you can’t get to a doctor? […]

By | March 6th, 2013|Other Wounds, Skin|9 Comments

The Movie Way to Stop a Nose Bleed (and Die)

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I hope you never stop a nose bleed like they do in the movies. If you do, you just might bleed to death. Here’s a typical scene: The hero has been punched in the face and his nose is bleeding pretty badly. He sits down, tilts his head back, and pinches the bridge of his nose or applies an ice pack to that area. Well, at least they get one thing right. […]

By | March 4th, 2013|Other Wounds, Skin|19 Comments

Video: How to Stop a Cut from Bleeding (Treating a Cut, Part 1)

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. This is the first video in my three-part series on how to treat a cut. Okay, pay attention to me, not my beautiful daughter/assistant. In this one I tell how to stop most any cut from bleeding by applying direct pressure on the wound. I also tell where to apply pressure if you suspect an artery or vein is doing most of the bleeding. If you’re a visual learner, this video’s for you. In addition, the video covers the importance of protecting yourself […]

By | November 15th, 2011|Cuts, Skin, Videos|18 Comments

When to See a Doctor for a Cut

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. When to see a doctor for a cut? Crash. A brick flies through a window. Your spouse is cut and bleeding, but otherwise unhurt. The streets are jammed with rioters. There’s no ambulance available, and even if you could get to the hospital, it’s packed.  Should you fight the crowd or stay put? The urgency of when to see a doctor for a cut depends on several things. […]

By | October 27th, 2011|Cuts, Other Wounds, Skin|51 Comments

When to Get Stitches

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Do I need stitches, Doc? It’s a question patients who come in with cuts often ask me. Or something like, “I feel so silly wasting your time over a little cut.” So how do you know when to get stitches? […]

By | October 25th, 2011|Cuts, Other Wounds, Skin|12 Comments