How to Treat a Bullet Wound Immediately After a Shooting Occurs

ambulance emergency

There is perhaps nothing more frightening than a random shooting. In the 2020s, gunshots can ring out in schools, malls, movie theaters, supermarkets, or just about anywhere where a soft target has been recognized by a lone shooter. Or a shooting can take place as an act of vengeance, such as infidelity, a property dispute, or a drug deal gone bad. The wounds can result in massive bleeding, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or even death.  

Whatever the case, if you or a loved one has become an innocent shooting victim, you need to seek out the best personal injury lawyer you can find. Says the professionals at Seay/Felton Trial Attorneys LLC, if you’ve suffered a life-threatening injury like a bullet wound because of another party’s malice or negligence, you are likely entitled to seek financial compensation in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. 

A reputable firm will represent you throughout a court case or via insurance negotiations to make sure you get the right financial compensation you need to heal both physically and psychologically.    

But what about treating gunshot wounds immediately after a shooting occurs? Is there anything you can do to save the life of a shooting victim? According to a recent report by VeryWell Health, you will likely never find yourself in a situation where you need to deal with someone’s gunshot wound. It’s said that lots of paramedics never experience a bullet wound throughout their entire career.  

But the reality of gunshot wounds is that swift medical attention can mean the difference between life and death for a gunshot victim. If you’re ever faced with a “gunshot wound emergency,” you must be prepared. 

Here’s how to treat a bullet wound immediately after a shooting occurs. 

Call The 911

Dialing 911 on your cell phone is imperative. But first, if you are standing beside a person who’s been shot, you need to take these three crucial steps: 

  • If at all possible, get to a safe place, which means finding sufficient cover. If the injured victim can run or walk, assist them with getting them to safety.  
  • If the shooting was a result of an accident, make certain the gun is now secured. 
  • Once you are safe, call 911 and do what the dispatcher instructs you to do. Do not panic. 

Transporting the shooting victim to a hospital or medical center as soon as humanly possible will give him or her the best odds of surviving and not bleeding out. Once a person has been shot in a vital area such as the abdomen or chest, you have 10 minutes at most between life or death. 

Attempt to Stop the Bleeding

You need to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. This is perhaps the most crucial part of treating a bullet wound immediately after a shooting has occurred. Here’s how you can manage this:  

  • Place strong pressure on the wound. If blood is pouring out of one hole more than another, place as much pressure on it as you can. If the bleeding is especially heavy, it’s okay to use your knee to lean hard on the wound. Don’t be afraid to cause the victim more pain. He will thank you if he survives due to your efforts. 
  • Use some sort of dressing to assist with clotting the wound. This can mean utilizing whatever is available. If a first aid kit is nearby, use gauze. But if you have no choice but to improvise, use your and the victim’s shirts. 
  • Use a tourniquet if required. A tourniquet is very effective in stemming the bleeding if applied correctly. This is especially important if the victim has been shot in the thigh where the femoral artery resides. If the tourniquet is applied correctly, it will cause pain for the victim, but it can save his life. 

Keep in mind that an improvised tourniquet, like your belt, is said to often fail. If you do not have a professional-grade tourniquet, it’s probably better to keep applying as much pressure as possible until the EMTs arrive on the scene. 

  • Do not give the gunshot wound victim anything to drink or eat. This includes water. 

Never Elevate the Legs

Generally speaking, you should not elevate the shooting victim’s legs. This will only make chest and abdominal wounds bleed out all the more quickly. It will also constrict the shooting victim’s breathing.  

If the victim is conscious after taking a bullet, make sure they are able to sit or lie back in a position that’s most comfortable for them. But if they are not conscious, place them in “the recovery position.” That is, on their side with the top leg bent at the knee at a right angle.

Unless you’re a combat soldier or a law enforcement officer, it’s rare to find yourself in the position of having to treat a person who’s just been shot. But in this era of high crime, it’s not unheard of. It’s best to have at least some idea of how to treat a bullet wound immediately after a shooting occurs. Remember to breathe when helping the victim, and by all means, do not panic.