Tag Archives: Wound

Straight, No Chaser: Stop, The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Snake Bites

snakes-on-a-plane
So you’ve been snake bitten.  What will you do next?
First things first.  Stay calm.  Call 911.  Realize that most snake bites are non-venomous (A really quick tip regarding the likelihood of a venomous snake: most have triangular heads.).  Here’s 10 additional steps to take while waiting for your help to arrive.
5 Things To Do

  1. Protect yourself.  Get out of the snake’s striking distance.  It should be trying to get away from you as well.
  2. Lie down.  Keep the wound below the level of the heart.
  3. Be still.  Activity simply facilitates spreading of any venom present.
  4. Cover the wound with a loose, clean dressing.  Immobilize the extremity if possible.
  5. Remove all restrictive clothing and jewelry from the area, because the area will swell.

5 Things Not to Do

  1. Try to suck out venom.
  2. Try to cut out the area bitten.
  3. Apply any constrictive dressings.
  4. Apply any cold or ice packs to the wound site.
  5. Run to help.

MORNINGSTAR

If you’re lucky enough to have a snake bite kit, you’ll simply follow those instructions, which are a modified version of the instructions I’ve just given.
You will need to be seen by a health care provider for consideration of the following:

  • Anti-venom may be needed.
  • Tetanus immunization may be needed.
  • Appropriate wound cleaning will be needed.
  • Antibiotics for skin infection may be needed.
  • Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
    Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
    Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
    Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Human Bites

jaws

The votes are in, and it appears that Jaws (from James Bond fame) found the previous post, well… biting.  Here’s your questions and answers about human bites:
1)   If human bites are so dangerous, why do women love Dracula so much?

  • Seriously?  Let’s just ascribe it to the neck being an erogenous zone and move on…

2)   What’s a Boxer’s Fracture?

fight bite

  • A boxer’s fracture is a misnomer because boxers don’t get them.  This describes a fracture at the base of the small finger (5th metacarpal), often caused from poor form throwing a punch.  If you take one hand and move the pinky finger portion of the palm (the metacarpal bone), you’ll notice how movable it is (i.e. unstable) compared with the same efforts on the index and middle fingers at the level of the palm, which is what should deliver the blow.  A boxer’s fracture and a human bite together makes for a very bad day.

3)   Is a human’s mouth really dirtier than a goat’s mouth?

goat lip

  • It’s correct to say the bacteria in a human’s mouth cause more disease.

4)   Is a bite the same as a puncture wound

  • The difference between a puncture wound and a laceration is you can identify the bottom (base) of the wound in a laceration, and you can’t in a puncture wound.  Regarding bites: cats, snakes and the aforementioned Dracula are more likely to cause puncture wounds.  Puncture wounds may or may not be caused by a bite (e.g. knife wounds are punctures).

human-reflex-bite

5)   I received a bite and didn’t get stitched up.  Why?

  • This could be for several reasons.  Puncture wounds don’t receive stitches because you don’t want to seal off the infection.  That’s a really good way to develop an abscess.
  • Sometimes we will opt for ‘delayed closure’, waiting 3-5 days to ensure no infection has occurred before placing stitches.
  • It’s really about the risk/benefit ratio.  A laceration to a face is more likely to be repaired because of the risk of disfigurement and scarring, plus the face is a relatively low infection area anyway.

6)   Why didn’t Dracula ever get Hepatitis or HIV?
dracula_bites_kim_kardashian_by_the_mind_controller-d5jh3ix

  • Even though Dracula’s the undead, one would think he’d be the world’s single greatest transmitter of both HIV and the blood transmitted forms of Hepatitis.  HIV is viable for a while in dead tissue, but it can’t multiply, which would explain why Dracula doesn’t show signs of the diseases.  On that note, I’m done.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Human Bites

fight-bite

I have had weird experiences with humans biting humans, as have most physicians. There are several different types of human bites, which can range from harmless to surgically serious. However, as an emergency physician, knowing the dangers of the bacteria inhabiting your mouth, I tend to assume the worst until proven otherwise. Your first quick tip is to do the same.

fight bite infected

Maybe it’s where I’m located, but I tend to see way more “fight bites” than anything else; these specifically refer to someone getting hit in the mouth. It’s always interesting to see the guy who “won” the fight being the one who has to come in for medical treatment. He cut his hand on someone’s tooth and really doesn’t think much of it. He just wants the laceration sewn. Little does he realize, the structures in the hand (tendons, blood vessels, muscles, and bones) are highly concentrated. He also doesn’t know that they are confined to a very limited space and seeding an infection in that tight space makes things really bad really quick. This guy is very dangerous because he tends to deny ever getting into the fight, ascribing the injury to something else (like punching a tree)—at least until I ask him why a tooth is inside his hand.

tysonbite

Then there’s the “Yes, he bit me” variety, where the teeth were the aggressor that engaged the victim instead of the fist engaging the tooth. Think of the Tyson vs. Holyfield bite as an example. Sometimes parts get bitten off (fingers, nose, ears, and other unmentionables)! Children, as another example, sometimes bite and need to learn to stop that behavior. Biting is sometimes seen in sexual assault, physical abuse, self-mutilation, or with mentally handicapped individuals.

human-vampires-bite--large-msg-135111099475

A third type is the ‘We love too much!’ variety of bites. These may include hickeys that actually break the skin. Other examples of “friendly” bites are folks biting off their hangnails, fingernails, and toenails and create skin infections. Yes, it happens more than you’d think, and no, you don’t have to be a vampire.
The commonality to all of these scenarios is saliva that found its way through the skin. Because of the virulence of the bacteria contained within the saliva, an infection will be forthcoming. You’ll know soon enough when the redness, warmth, tenderness, fever, and possible pus from the wound develop.
The easy recommendation to make is anytime a wound involving someone’s mouth breaks your skin, get evaluated. Some wounds are much more dangerous than others. Teeth get dislodged into wounds, hand tendons get cut, bones get broken, and serious infections develop. In fact, these bites require immunization for tetanus.
Bottom line: There’s no reason not to get evaluated if you develop those signs of infection, if any injury to your hand occurs, or if any breakage of your skin has occurred. You’ll need antibiotics and wound cleaning in all probability, with a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date. If you’re unlucky, you may end up in the operating room.

human-bite

So here’s your duty if you haven’t successfully avoided the bite:
1) At home, only clean the open wound by running water over the area. Avoid the home remedies like peroxide, alcohol, and anything else that burns. Those agents make things worse by damaging the skin more than they “clean” the area.
2) Apply ice—never directly to the wound—but in a towel. Use for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.
3) Retrieve any displaced skin tissue, place it in a bag of cold water, place that bag on ice, and bring it with you. We’ll decide if it’s salvageable.
4) Get in to be evaluated. Be forthcoming about whether or not it was a bite.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Stop, The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Snake Bites

snakes-on-a-plane
So you’ve been snake bitten.  What will you do next?
First things first.  Stay calm.  Call 911.  Realize that most snake bites are non-venomous (A really quick tip regarding the likelihood of a venomous snake: most have triangular heads.).  Here’s 10 additional steps to take while waiting for your help to arrive.
5 Things To Do

  1. Protect yourself.  Get out of the snake’s striking distance.  It should be trying to get away from you as well.
  2. Lie down.  Keep the wound below the level of the heart.
  3. Be still.  Activity simply facilitates spreading of any venom present.
  4. Cover the wound with a loose, clean dressing.  Immobilize the extremity if possible.
  5. Remove all restrictive clothing and jewelry from the area, because the area will swell.

5 Things Not to Do

  1. Try to suck out venom.
  2. Try to cut out the area bitten.
  3. Apply any constrictive dressings.
  4. Apply any cold or ice packs to the wound site.
  5. Run to help.

MORNINGSTAR

If you’re lucky enough to have a snake bite kit, you’ll simply follow those instructions, which are a modified version of the instructions I’ve just given.
You will need to be seen by a health care provider for consideration of the following:

  • Anti-venom may be needed.
  • Tetanus immunization may be needed.
  • Appropriate wound cleaning will be needed.
  • Antibiotics for skin infection may be needed.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Human Bites

fight bite

  • A boxer’s fracture is a misnomer because boxers don’t get them.  This describes a fracture at the base of the small finger (5th metacarpal), often caused from poor form throwing a punch.  If you take one hand and move the pinky finger portion of the palm (the metacarpal bone), you’ll notice how movable it is (i.e. unstable) compared with the same efforts on the index and middle fingers at the level of the palm, which is what should deliver the blow.  A boxer’s fracture and a human bite together makes for a very bad day.

3)   Is a human’s mouth really dirtier than a goat’s mouth?

goat lip

  • It’s correct to say the bacteria in a human’s mouth cause more disease.

4)   Is a bite the same as a puncture wound

  • The difference between a puncture wound and a laceration is you can identify the bottom (base) of the wound in a laceration, and you can’t in a puncture wound.  Regarding bites: cats, snakes and the aforementioned Dracula are more likely to cause puncture wounds.  Puncture wounds may or may not be caused by a bite (e.g. knife wounds are punctures).

human-reflex-bite

5)   I received a bite and didn’t get stitched up.  Why?

  • This could be for several reasons.  Puncture wounds don’t receive stitches because you don’t want to seal off the infection.  That’s a really good way to develop an abscess.
  • Sometimes we will opt for ‘delayed closure’, waiting 3-5 days to ensure no infection has occurred before placing stitches.
  • It’s really about the risk/benefit ratio.  A laceration to a face is more likely to be repaired because of the risk of disfigurement and scarring, plus the face is a relatively low infection area anyway.

6)   Why didn’t Dracula ever get Hepatitis or HIV?
dracula_bites_kim_kardashian_by_the_mind_controller-d5jh3ix

  • Even though Dracula’s the undead, one would think he’d be the world’s single greatest transmitter of both HIV and the blood transmitted forms of Hepatitis.  HIV is viable for a while in dead tissue, but it can’t multiply, which would explain why Dracula doesn’t show signs of the diseases.  On that note, I’m done.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Human Bites

fight-bite

I have had weird experiences with humans biting humans, as have most physicians. There are several different types of human bites, which can range from harmless to surgically serious. However, as an emergency physician, knowing the dangers of the bacteria inhabiting your mouth, I tend to assume the worst until proven otherwise. Your first quick tip is to do the same.

fight bite infected

Maybe it’s where I’m located, but I tend to see way more “fight bites” than anything else; these specifically refer to someone getting hit in the mouth. It’s always interesting to see the guy who “won” the fight being the one who has to come in for medical treatment. He cut his hand on someone’s tooth and really doesn’t think much of it. He just wants the laceration sewn. Little does he realize, the structures in the hand (tendons, blood vessels, muscles, and bones) are highly concentrated. He also doesn’t know that they are confined to a very limited space and seeding an infection in that tight space makes things really bad really quick. This guy is very dangerous because he tends to deny ever getting into the fight, ascribing the injury to something else (like punching a tree)—at least until I ask him why a tooth is inside his hand.

tysonbite

Then there’s the “Yes, he bit me” variety, where the teeth were the aggressor that engaged the victim instead of the fist engaging the tooth. Think of the Tyson vs. Holyfield bite as an example. Sometimes parts get bitten off (fingers, nose, ears, and other unmentionables)! Children, as another example, sometimes bite and need to learn to stop that behavior. Biting is sometimes seen in sexual assault, physical abuse, self-mutilation, or with mentally handicapped individuals.

human-vampires-bite--large-msg-135111099475

A third type is the ‘We love too much!’ variety of bites. These may include hickeys that actually break the skin. Other examples of “friendly” bites are folks biting off their hangnails, fingernails, and toenails and create skin infections. Yes, it happens more than you’d think, and no, you don’t have to be a vampire.
The commonality to all of these scenarios is saliva that found its way through the skin. Because of the virulence of the bacteria contained within the saliva, an infection will be forthcoming. You’ll know soon enough when the redness, warmth, tenderness, fever, and possible pus from the wound develop.
The easy recommendation to make is anytime a wound involving someone’s mouth breaks your skin, get evaluated. Some wounds are much more dangerous than others. Teeth get dislodged into wounds, hand tendons get cut, bones get broken, and serious infections develop. In fact, these bites require immunization for tetanus.
Bottom line: There’s no reason not to get evaluated if you develop those signs of infection, if any injury to your hand occurs, or if any breakage of your skin has occurred. You’ll need antibiotics and wound cleaning in all probability, with a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date. If you’re unlucky, you may end up in the operating room.

human-bite

So here’s your duty if you haven’t successfully avoided the bite:
1) At home, only clean the open wound by running water over the area. Avoid the home remedies like peroxide, alcohol, and anything else that burns. Those agents make things worse by damaging the skin more than they “clean” the area.
2) Apply ice—never directly to the wound—but in a towel. Use for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.
3) Retrieve any displaced skin tissue, place it in a bag of cold water, place that bag on ice, and bring it with you. We’ll decide if it’s salvageable.
4) Get in to be evaluated. Be forthcoming about whether or not it was a bite.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Human Bites

jaws

The votes are in, and it appears that Jaws (from James Bond fame) found the previous post, well… biting.  Here’s your questions and answers about human bites:
1)   If human bites are so dangerous, why do women love Dracula so much?

  • Seriously?  Let’s just ascribe it to the neck being an erogenous zone and move on…

2)   What’s a Boxer’s Fracture?

fight bite

  • A boxer’s fracture is a misnomer because boxers don’t get them.  This describes a fracture at the base of the small finger (5th metacarpal), often caused from poor form throwing a punch.  If you take one hand and move the pinky finger portion of the palm (the metacarpal bone), you’ll notice how movable it is (i.e. unstable) compared with the same efforts on the index and middle fingers at the level of the palm, which is what should deliver the blow.  A boxer’s fracture and a human bite together makes for a very bad day.

3)   Is a human’s mouth really dirtier than a goat’s mouth?

goat lip

  • It’s correct to say the bacteria in a human’s mouth cause more disease.

4)   Is a bite the same as a puncture wound

  • The difference between a puncture wound and a laceration is you can identify the bottom (base) of the wound in a laceration, and you can’t in a puncture wound.  Regarding bites: cats, snakes and the aforementioned Dracula are more likely to cause puncture wounds.  Puncture wounds may or may not be caused by a bite (e.g. knife wounds are punctures).

human-reflex-bite

5)   I received a bite and didn’t get stitched up.  Why?

  • This could be for several reasons.  Puncture wounds don’t receive stitches because you don’t want to seal off the infection.  That’s a really good way to develop an abscess.
  • Sometimes we will opt for ‘delayed closure’, waiting 3-5 days to ensure no infection has occurred before placing stitches.
  • It’s really about the risk/benefit ratio.  A laceration to a face is more likely to be repaired because of the risk of disfigurement and scarring, plus the face is a relatively low infection area anyway.

6)   Why didn’t Dracula ever get Hepatitis or HIV?
dracula_bites_kim_kardashian_by_the_mind_controller-d5jh3ix

  • Even though Dracula’s the undead, one would think he’d be the world’s single greatest transmitter of both HIV and the blood transmitted forms of Hepatitis.  HIV is viable for awhile in dead tissue, but it can’t multiply, which would explain why Dracula doesn’t show signs of the diseases.  On that note, I’m done.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Human Bites

fight-bite

I have had weird experiences with humans biting humans, as have most physicians. There are several different types of human bites, which can range from harmless to surgically serious. However, as an emergency physician, knowing the dangers of the bacteria inhabiting your mouth, I tend to assume the worst until proven otherwise. Your first quick tip is to do the same.

fight bite infected

Maybe it’s where I’m located, but I tend to see way more “fight bites” than anything else; these specifically refer to someone getting hit in the mouth. It’s always interesting to see the guy who “won” the fight being the one who has to come in for medical treatment. He cut his hand on someone’s tooth and really doesn’t think much of it. He just wants the laceration sewn. Little does he realize, the structures in the hand (tendons, blood vessels, muscles, and bones) are highly concentrated. He also doesn’t know that they are confined to a very limited space and seeding an infection in that tight space makes things really bad really quick. This guy is very dangerous because he tends to deny ever getting into the fight, ascribing the injury to something else (like punching a tree)—at least until I ask him why a tooth is inside his hand.

tysonbite

Then there’s the “Yes, he bit me” variety, where the teeth were the aggressor that engaged the victim instead of the fist engaging the tooth. Think of the Tyson vs. Holyfield bite as an example. Sometimes parts get bitten off (fingers, nose, ears, and other unmentionables)! Children, as another example, sometimes bite and need to learn to stop that behavior. Biting is sometimes seen in sexual assault, physical abuse, self-mutilation, or with mentally handicapped individuals.

human-vampires-bite--large-msg-135111099475

A third type is the ‘We love too much!’ variety of bites. These may include hickeys that actually break the skin. Other examples of “friendly” bites are folks biting off their hangnails, fingernails, and toenails and create skin infections. Yes, it happens more than you’d think, and no, you don’t have to be a vampire.
The commonality to all of these scenarios is saliva that found its way through the skin. Because of the virulence of the bacteria contained within the saliva, an infection will be forthcoming. You’ll know soon enough when the redness, warmth, tenderness, fever, and possible pus from the wound develop.
The easy recommendation to make is anytime a wound involving someone’s mouth breaks your skin, get evaluated. Some wounds are much more dangerous than others. Teeth get dislodged into wounds, hand tendons get cut, bones get broken, and serious infections develop. In fact, these bites require immunization for tetanus.
Bottom line: There’s no reason not to get evaluated if you develop those signs of infection, if any injury to your hand occurs, or if any breakage of your skin has occurred. You’ll need antibiotics and wound cleaning in all probability, with a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date. If you’re unlucky, you may end up in the operating room.

human-bite

So here’s your duty if you haven’t successfully avoided the bite:
1) At home, only clean the open wound by running water over the area. Avoid the home remedies like peroxide, alcohol, and anything else that burns. Those agents make things worse by damaging the skin more than they “clean” the area.
2) Apply ice—never directly to the wound—but in a towel. Use for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.
3) Retrieve any displaced skin tissue, place it in a bag of cold water, place that bag on ice, and bring it with you. We’ll decide if it’s salvageable.
4) Get in to be evaluated. Be forthcoming about whether or not it was a bite.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Stop, The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Snake Bites

snakes-on-a-plane
So you’ve been snake bitten.  What will you do next?
First things first.  Stay calm.  Call 911.  Realize that most snake bites are non-venomous (A really quick tip regarding the likelihood of a venomous snake: most have triangular heads.).  Here’s 10 additional steps to take while waiting for your help to arrive.
5 Things To Do

  1. Protect yourself.  Get out of the snake’s striking distance.  It should be trying to get away from you as well.
  2. Lie down.  Keep the wound below the level of the heart.
  3. Be still.  Activity simply facilitates spreading of any venom present.
  4. Cover the wound with a loose, clean dressing.  Immobilize the extremity if possible.
  5. Remove all restrictive clothing and jewelry from the area, because the area will swell.

5 Things Not to Do

  1. Try to suck out venom.
  2. Try to cut out the area bitten.
  3. Apply any constrictive dressings.
  4. Apply any cold or ice packs to the wound site.
  5. Run to help.

MORNINGSTAR

If you’re lucky enough to have a snake bite kit, you’ll simply follow those instructions, which are a modified version of the instructions I’ve just given.
You will need to be seen by a health care provider for consideration of the following:

  • Anti-venom may be needed.
  • Tetanus immunization may be needed.
  • Appropriate wound cleaning will be needed.
  • Antibiotics for skin infection may be needed.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Human Bites

jaws

The votes are in, and it appears that Jaws (from James Bond fame) found the previous post, well… biting.  Here’s your questions and answers about human bites:
1)   If human bites are so dangerous, why do women love Dracula so much?

  • Seriously?  Let’s just ascribe it to the neck being an erogenous zone and move on…

2)   What’s a Boxer’s Fracture?

fight bite

  • A boxer’s fracture is a misnomer because boxers don’t get them.  This describes a fracture at the base of the small finger (5th metacarpal), often caused from poor form throwing a punch.  If you take one hand and move the pinky finger portion of the palm (the metacarpal bone), you’ll notice how movable it is (i.e. unstable) compared with the same efforts on the index and middle fingers at the level of the palm, which is what should deliver the blow.  A boxer’s fracture and a human bite together makes for a very bad day.

3)   Is a human’s mouth really dirtier than a goat’s mouth?

goat lip

  • It’s correct to say the bacteria in a human’s mouth cause more disease.

4)   Is a bite the same as a puncture wound

  • The difference between a puncture wound and a laceration is you can identify the bottom (base) of the wound in a laceration, and you can’t in a puncture wound.  Regarding bites: cats, snakes and the aforementioned Dracula are more likely to cause puncture wounds.  Puncture wounds may or may not be caused by a bite (e.g. knife wounds are punctures).

human-reflex-bite

5)   I received a bite and didn’t get stitched up.  Why?

  • This could be for several reasons.  Puncture wounds don’t receive stitches because you don’t want to seal off the infection.  That’s a really good way to develop an abscess.
  • Sometimes we will opt for ‘delayed closure’, waiting 3-5 days to ensure no infection has occurred before placing stitches.
  • It’s really about the risk/benefit ratio.  A laceration to a face is more likely to be repaired because of the risk of disfigurement and scarring, plus the face is a relatively low infection area anyway.

6)   Why didn’t Dracula ever get Hepatitis or HIV?
dracula_bites_kim_kardashian_by_the_mind_controller-d5jh3ix

  • Even though Dracula’s the undead, one would think he’d be the world’s single greatest transmitter of both HIV and the blood transmitted forms of Hepatitis.  HIV is viable for awhile in dead tissue, but it can’t multiply, which would explain why Dracula doesn’t show signs of the diseases.  On that note, I’m done.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd. Preorder your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com.

Straight, No Chaser: Human Bites

fight-bite

I have had weird experiences with humans biting humans, as have most physicians. There are several different types of human bites, which can range from harmless to surgically serious. However, as an emergency physician, knowing the dangers of the bacteria inhabiting your mouth, I tend to assume the worst until proven otherwise. Your first quick tip is to do the same.

fight bite infected

Maybe it’s where I’m located, but I tend to see way more “fight bites” than anything else; these specifically refer to someone getting hit in the mouth. It’s always interesting to see the guy who “won” the fight being the one who has to come in for medical treatment. He cut his hand on someone’s tooth and really doesn’t think much of it. He just wants the laceration sewn. Little does he realize, the structures in the hand (tendons, blood vessels, muscles, and bones) are highly concentrated. He also doesn’t know that they are confined to a very limited space and seeding an infection in that tight space makes things really bad really quick. This guy is very dangerous because he tends to deny ever getting into the fight, ascribing the injury to something else (like punching a tree)—at least until I ask him why a tooth is inside his hand.

tysonbite

Then there’s the “Yes, he bit me” variety, where the teeth were the aggressor that engaged the victim instead of the fist engaging the tooth. Think of the Tyson vs. Holyfield bite as an example. Sometimes parts get bitten off (fingers, nose, ears, and other unmentionables)! Children, as another example, sometimes bite and need to learn to stop that behavior. Biting is sometimes seen in sexual assault, physical abuse, self-mutilation, or with mentally handicapped individuals.

human-vampires-bite--large-msg-135111099475

A third type is the ‘We love too much!’ variety of bites. These may include hickeys that actually break the skin. Other examples of “friendly” bites are folks biting off their hangnails, fingernails, and toenails and create skin infections. Yes, it happens more than you’d think, and no, you don’t have to be a vampire.
The commonality to all of these scenarios is saliva that found its way through the skin. Because of the virulence of the bacteria contained within the saliva, an infection will be forthcoming. You’ll know soon enough when the redness, warmth, tenderness, fever, and possible pus from the wound develop.
The easy recommendation to make is anytime a wound involving someone’s mouth breaks your skin, get evaluated. Some wounds are much more dangerous than others. Teeth get dislodged into wounds, hand tendons get cut, bones get broken, and serious infections develop. In fact, these bites require immunization for tetanus. Bottom line: There’s no reason not to get evaluated if you develop those signs of infection, if any injury to your hand occurs, or if any breakage of your skin has occurred. You’ll need antibiotics and wound cleaning in all probability, with a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date. If you’re unlucky, you may end up in the operating room.

human-bite

So here’s your duty if you haven’t successfully avoided the bite:
1) At home, only clean the open wound by running water over the area. Avoid the home remedies like peroxide, alcohol, and anything else that burns. Those agents make things worse by damaging the skin more than they “clean” the area.
2) Apply ice—never directly to the wound—but in a towel. Use for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.
3) Retrieve any displaced skin tissue, place it in a bag of cold water, place that bag on ice, and bring it with you. We’ll decide if it’s salvageable.
4) Get in to be evaluated. Be forthcoming about whether or not it was a bite.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC

Straight, No Chaser: Fifteen Tips to Care for Diabetic Skin

DiabeticskindmgangreneDiabetic Foot

In this previous post, we discussed the frailty of the diabetic skin and discussed how that sets one up for skin infections, abscesses, ulcers, amputations and even death. Your best defense from these set of illnesses and tragedies is knowledge, prevention and prompt action.  Here are some concern steps you can take to better care for the diabetic in your life. In the event you know a diabetic who appears healthy, I want you to pay special attention to him/her. Diabetes is a chronic and insidious disease. These changes occur over years, and your challenge is to slow the process down as long as possible.
If you have diabetes, these tips may help prevent skin damage and infections:

  1. Do the best to can to control your blood glucose levels. The more out of control it is, the most damage it causes.
  2. You must check your feet every single day for the rest of your life. Diabetes develop decreased sensitivity to their feet. It is extremely common to step on a sharp object and not realize that you’ve done so. A splinter or nail is an excellent medium for an infection.
  3. Eat fruits and vegetables. Your skin needs all the nourishment it can get.
  4. Develop better hygiene. Wash and dry your skin often and thoroughly; this will keep you less exposed to infections.
  5. Make a point of keeping your groin, armpits and other areas prone to heavy sweat dry. Those moist areas in particular are most prone to becoming infected. Talcum powder is a good choice to use.
  6. Stay hydrated. It’s an uphill battle with the frequent urination and high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Dehydration causes your skin to be more brittle and prone to infections.
  7. Stay moisturized! Apply lotion early and often, especially after baths. Note those dry, cracked feet and get ahead of that happening if possible.
  8. Remember: if you’re diabetic, at some point your hands will retain sensation longer than your finger. It’s common to see scald injuries from stepping in water hot enough to burn you without you feeling it initially. Check the water with your hands before stepping into a tub.
  9. Use a milder, less irritating soaps that include moisturizer. Speaking of tubs, avoid bubble baths. Sorry.
  10. Consider investing in a humidifier to prevent skin drying, especially in dry or cold climates.
  11. Always take any skin wounds seriously, especially those on your feet. Avoid placing alcohol on any of your wounds.
  12. Invest in some sterile gauze. If you develop a scratch or other wound, control the wound with it after cleaning.
  13. Limit your self-help to cleaning and gauze wrapping. Only place topical antibiotics or take antibiotics for a skin infection under your physician’s supervision.
  14. Always ask your physician to check your skin during an examination and ask him/her to teach you what to look for.
  15. Immediately consult your physician or access the local emergency room if you have a burn, scratch, abscess (boil) or laceration that seems serious.

Feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant if you have any questions on this topic.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Human Bites

tysonbite

I have had weird experiences with humans biting humans, as have most physicians. There are several different types of human bites, which can range from harmless to surgically serious. However, as an emergency physician, knowing the dangers of the bacteria inhabiting your mouth, I tend to assume the worst until proven otherwise. Your first quick tip is to do the same.
Maybe it’s where I’m located, but I tend to see way more “fight bites” than anything else; these specifically refer to someone getting hit in the mouth. It’s always interesting to see the guy who “won” the fight being the one who has to come in for medical treatment. He cut his hand on someone’s tooth and really doesn’t think much of it. He just wants the laceration sewn. Little does he realize, the structures in the hand (tendons, blood vessels, muscles, and bones) are highly concentrated. He also doesn’t know that they are confined to a very limited space and seeding an infection in that tight space makes things really bad really quick. This guy is very dangerous because he tends to deny ever getting into the fight, ascribing the injury to something else (like punching a tree)—at least until I ask him why a tooth is inside his hand.
Then there’s the “Yes, he bit me” variety, where the teeth were the agressor that engaged the victim instead of the fist engaging the tooth. Think of the Tyson vs. Holyfield bite as an example. Sometimes parts get bitten off (fingers, nose, ears, and other unmentionables)! Children, as another example, sometimes bite and need to learn to stop that behavior. Biting is sometimes seen in sexual assault, physical abuse, self-mutilation, or with mentally handicapped individuals.
A third type is the ‘We love too much!’ variety of bites. These may include hickeys that actually break the skin. Other examples of “friendly” bites are folks biting off their hangnails, fingernails, and toenails and create skin infections. Yes, it happens more than you’d think.
The commonality to all of these scenarios is saliva that found its way through the skin. Because of the virulence of the bacteria contained within the saliva, an infection will be forthcoming. You’ll know soon enough when the redness, warmth, tenderness, fever, and possible pus from the wound develop.
The easy recommendation to make is anytime a wound involving someone’s mouth breaks your skin, get evaluated. Some wounds are much more dangerous than others. Teeth get dislodged into wounds, hand tendons get cut, bones get broken, and serious infections develop. In fact, these bites require immunization for tetanus. Bottom line: There’s no reason not to get evaluated if you develop those signs of infection, if any injury to your hand occurs, or if any breakage of your skin has occurred. You’ll need antibiotics and wound cleaning in all probability, with a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date. If you’re unlucky, you may end up in the operating room.
So here’s your duty if you haven’t successfully avoided the bite:
1) At home, only clean the open wound by running water over the area. Avoid the home remedies like peroxide, alcohol, and anything else that burns. Those agents make things worse by damaging the skin more than they “clean” the area.
2) Apply ice—never directly to the wound—but in a towel. Use for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off.
3) Retrieve any displaced skin tissue, place it in a bag of cold water, place that bag on ice, and bring it with you. We’ll decide if it’s salvageable.
4) Get in to be evaluated. Be forthcoming about whether or not it was a bite.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions about Human Bites

dracula_bites_kim_kardashian_by_the_mind_controller-d5jh3ix
It seems that you found today’s post, well… biting.  Here’s your questions and answers about human bites:
1)   If human bites are so dangerous, why do women love Dracula so much?

  • Seriously?  Let’s just ascribe it to the neck being an erogenous zone and move on…

2)   What’s a Boxer’s Fracture?

  • A boxer’s fracture is a misnomer because boxers don’t get them.  This describes a fracture at the base of the small finger (5th metacarpal), often caused from poor form throwing a punch.  If you take one hand and move the pinky finger portion of the palm (the metacarpal bone), you’ll notice how movable it is (i.e. unstable) compared with the same efforts on the index and middle fingers at the level of the palm, which is what should deliver the blow.  A boxer’s fracture and a human bite together makes for a very bad day.

3)   Is a human’s mouth really dirtier than a goat’s mouth?

  • It’s correct to say the bacteria in a human’s mouth cause more disease.

4)   Is a bite the same as a puncture wound?

  • The difference between a puncture wound and a laceration is you can identify the bottom (base) of the wound in a laceration, and you can’t in a puncture wound.  Regarding bites: cats, snakes and the aforementioned Dracula are more likely to cause puncture wounds.  Puncture wounds may or may not be caused by a bite (e.g. knife wounds are punctures).

5)   I received a bite and didn’t get stitched up.  Why?

  • This could be for several reasons.  Puncture wounds don’t receive stitches because you don’t want to seal off the infection.  That’s a really good way to develop an abscess.
  • Sometimes we will opt for ‘delayed closure’, waiting 3-5 days to ensure no infection has occurred before placing stitches.
  • It’s really about the risk/benefit ratio.  A laceration to a face is more likely to be repaired because of the risk of disfigurement and scarring, plus the face is a relatively low infection area anyway.

6)   Why didn’t Dracula ever get Hepatitis or HIV?

  • Even though Dracula’s the undead, one would think he’d be the world’s single greatest transmitter of both HIV and the blood transmitted forms of Hepatitis.  HIV is viable for awhile in dead tissue, but it can’t multiply, which would explain why Dracula doesn’t show signs of the diseases.  On that note, I’m done.

Straight No Chaser: Human Bites

tysonbite
I have had weird experiences with humans biting humans, as have most physicians. There are several different types of human bites, which can range from harmless to surgically serious, but as an emergency physician knowing the dangers of the bacteria inhabiting your mouth, I tend to assume the worst until proven otherwise. Your first Quick Tip is to do the same.
Maybe it’s where I’m located, but I tend to see way more ‘fight bites’ than anything else; these specifically refer to someone getting hit in the mouth. It’s always interesting to see the guy who ‘won’ the fight being the one who has to come in for medical treatment. He will have cut his hand on someone’s tooth and really doesn’t think much of it. He just wants the laceration sewn. Little does he realize how concentrated all of the structures (tendons, blood vessels, muscles and bones) are in the hand. He also doesn’t know that they’re confined to a very limited space, and seeding an infection in that space makes things really bad really quick. These guys are very dangerous because they tend to deny ever getting into the fight, ascribing the injury to something else (like punching a tree) – at least until I ask him why a tooth is inside his hand.
Then there’s the “Yes, I was bitten” variety, including activity where the teeth engaged the victim instead of the fist engaging a tooth. Think of the above Tyson vs. Holyfield bite as an example. Sometimes parts get bitten off (fingers, nose, ears and other unmentionables)! Children sometimes need to learn to stop biting as a behavior. Biting is sometimes seen in sexual assault, physical abuse and in self-mutilating behavior or with mentally handicapped individuals.
A third type is the ‘We love too much!’ variety. These may include hickeys (that actually break the skin), folks biting off their hangnails, and individuals who create skin infections by biting their toenails and fingernails. Yes, it happens more than you’d think.
The commonality to all of these scenarios is saliva found its way through the skin. Because of the virulence of those bacteria contained within, an infection will be forthcoming. You’ll know soon enough when the redness, warmth, tenderness and possibly pus from the wound and fever develop.
The easy recommendation to make is anytime a wound involving someone’s mouth breaks your skin, you need to be evaluated. Some wounds are much more dangerous than others. Teeth get dislodged into wounds, hand tendons get cut, bones get broken, and serious infections develop, and in fact these bites require immunization for tetanus. Bottom line: there’s no reason not to get evaluated if you develop those signs of infection I mentioned, if any injury to your hand occurs, or if any breakage of your skin has occurred. You’ll need antibiotics and wound cleaning in all probability, with a tetanus shot if you’re not up to date. If you’re unlucky, you may end up in the operating room.
So here’s your duty if you haven’t successfully avoided the bite:
1) At home, only clean the open wound by running water over the area. Avoid the home remedies, peroxide, alcohol and anything else that burns. You’re making things worse for yourself (those agents cause skin damage more than they’re ‘cleaning’ the area).
2) Apply ice – never directly to the wound, but in a towel. Use for 15 minutes off then 15 minutes on.
3) Retrieve any displaced skin tissue, place it in a bag of cold water, place that bag on ice, and bring it with you. We’ll decide if it’s salvageable.
4) Get in to be evaluated. Be forthcoming about whether or not it was a bite.

Straight, No Chaser: Stop, The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Snake Bites

snakes-on-a-plane
So you’ve been snake bitten.  What will you do next?
First things first.  Stay calm.  Call 911.  Realize that most snake bites are non-venomous (A really quick tip regarding the likelihood of a venomous snake: most have triangular heads.).  Here’s 10 additional steps to take while waiting for your help to arrive.
5 Things To Do

  1. Protect yourself.  Get out of the snake’s striking distance.  It should be trying to get away from you as well.
  2. Lie down.  Keep the wound below the level of the heart.
  3. Be still.  Activity simply facilitates spreading of any venom present.
  4. Cover the wound with a loose, clean dressing.  Immobilize the extremity if possible.
  5. Remove all restrictive clothing and jewelry from the area, because the area will swell.

5 Things Not to Do

  1. Try to suck out venom.
  2. Try to cut out the area bitten.
  3. Apply any constrictive dressings.
  4. Apply any cold or ice packs to the wound site.
  5. Run to help.

If you’re lucky enough to have a snake bite kit, you’ll simply follow those instructions, which are a modified version of the instructions I’ve just given.
You will need to be seen by a health care provider for consideration of the following:

  • Anti-venom may be needed.
  • Tetanus immunization may be needed.
  • Appropriate wound cleaning will be needed.
  • Antibiotics for skin infection may be needed.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Straight, No Chaser: Your Questions About Gunshot and Stab Wounds

 Your Top Five Questions:
 1. Why don’t the bullets always get taken out? 
Removal of bullet may cause more damage than leaving them in.  It’s sometimes not worth the effort.
2. What’s with the tubes that go in the chest?
Chest tubes are used to treat a pneumothorax (a collapsed lung).  The problem is there’s air in the space between the lung and the chest wall.  This can interfere with normal breathing and may be life threatening.  The tubes go through the chest wall to release the air from that space, thus allowing re-expansion of the lungs.
3. Why would doctors ever need to slit someone’s throat to save their lives?
That describes either a cricothyrotomy or a tracheostomy, and it’s not ‘slitting’ the throat as much as it’s creating an opening in the airway to permit airflow.  This is usually necessary because of some airway obstruction at the upper throat (foreign body in the throat, etc.) with an inability to clear it.  This procedure is only done to save a life.
4. Why would you die from a wound to the thigh?
Fractures of certain bones and laceration of certain blood vessels are potentially associated with enough blood loss that you could bleed to death.  Infection and blood clots are additional considerations that could be life-threatening.
5. What about gunshot or stab wounds to someone pregnant?
Penetrating trauma to the abdomen is typically less fatal to the mother than to a fetus because the fetus is literally acting as a shield.  In the event any wound has placed the mother’s life at risk or the mother has died from the wound, under certain extreme circumstances, an emergency C-section may be performed to save the baby.

Straight, No Chaser: Violent Crimes – Gunshot and Stab Wounds

Penetrating trauma (PT) is of such magnitude in this country that it is nearly impossible to do it justice in short form. This is primarily a medical blog, and as such I’ll defer addressing the politics of it all. The fact remains that gunshot and stab wounds take an astounding toll on human life in the U.S, with over 16,000 homicides annually (approximately 45 deaths every day). The ramifications of these wounds encompass much more than medical considerations, but I’ll devote this space to discussing basics of penetrating trauma.
What Happens
By design, intentional stab and gunshot wound aim to kill. Just as I noted in discussing the blunt trauma seen in motor vehicle crashes, any area of the body can be shot or stabbed. Unintentional injuries are also a source of common emergency room presentations. Major ERs and Trauma Centers are known within the industry as the ‘knife and gun clubs’.
Penetrating injuries to virtually all areas (brain, neck, chest, back, abdomen, groin, extremities) can be fatal. Gunshots wounds have several ways of injuring you, including the direct damage to tissue, indirect damage from the shock waves and direct damage from fragments (of the bullet or bone).

  • PT that reaches blood vessels can cause fatal bleeding. In the abdomen, the liver is the most commonly injured organ because of its large size and can bleed enough to cause shock and death.
  • PT that reaches the spinal cord can cause paralysis and death.
  • PT to the brain can cause all manners of dysfunction, including loss of speech, motion, sensation, bodily functions, paralysis and death.
  • PT to the chest can cause puncture, rupture and/or loss of lung and heart function, leading to a pretty rapid death.

Be reminded that although both gunshot wounds and stab wounds involve penetration and may puncture your internal organs, gunshots are more prone to deeper penetration with higher energy and may create exit wounds, causing damage throughout its course.
What You Can Do
Here are the things you must consider after becoming a victim of penetrating trauma.

  • Get to safety. Perpetrators of penetrating trauma meant to hurt you and often mean for you to be dead. They may be looking to finish the job. I’ve been involved in many scenarios where individuals came to the ER to do just that.
  • Once you’re safe, immediately call 911 regardless of how you feel. You may be in shock and your body will fight feverishly to normalize how you feel – right up until you crash. In other words, you can’t trust how you feel. Another vital consideration about getting medical attention rapidly is what we call ‘The Golden Hour’. The opportunity to address many of the truly life threatening considerations in penetrating trauma is best done within the first 60 minutes of the injury.
  • Once you’re safe, apply pressure (clean towels) to any bleeding sites. Cover yourself with blankets as needed to preserve heat.
  • Avoid movement. Gunshot wounds are associated with spinal cord injuries, so movement could be dangerous.

What You Should Expect
Treatment of penetrating trauma is very dramatic and necessarily regimented due to the early lack of knowledge of the depth and location of injuries. As such, assessment and treatment protocols generally are in place for the region of the body penetrated. The first consideration is always ensuring that the patient’s Airway is intact, Breathing is still ongoing, and Circulation (blood flow) is sufficient (The ‘ABCs’ of Trauma management). After that, use of x-rays, CT scans and other radiologic modalities to identify the location and extent of injuries will be employed based on the stability of the patient. Sometimes immediate surgical intervention is needed.
This is another situation where prevention is the best course of action. Avoiding injuries when possible should go without saying but often does not. Gun safety for gun owners is crucial to avoid unintentional injuries. Attention to detail is very important when handling guns and knives. Unintentional injuries tend to occur when handlers of these weapons get too comfortable. Unfortunately, once penetrating trauma has occurred, it seems like a game of chance. For every person who is told “If that bullet was one more inch to the right, you’d be paralyzed (or dead)”, another family has to be told to make arrangements. Unfortunately, my father was the victim of a random fatal gunshot wound when I was six years old, so I know that story all too well.
If you remember anything from this blog post, remember time is of the essence. Get your loved one to us inside of ‘The Golden Hour’ to give the best chance of a good outcome.