Close look on a gunshot wound

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A gunshot wound requires immediate medical attention. This is a type of puncture wound that can result to significant tissue damage. When determining the seriousness of a gunshot wound, the following are considered:

  • Site of the injury
  • Speed and size of the projectile

It is important to note that handguns generate significantly slower velocity projectiles that rifles, thus resulting to less severe injuries. The damage to the tissues due to the projectile is based on its mass and velocity.

What should I do?

It is vital to stay safe since you cannot help if you will also end up hurt. If the individual can walk or run, bring him/her along. In case of an accidental shooting, ensure that the gun is secured.

Call for emergency assistance and follow any instructions given.

gunshot wound
A gunshot wound on the chest must be sealed with some form of plastic to prevent air from drawn into the wound.

Management of a gunshot wound

  • Control the bleeding – if blood is gushing out of the wound, place pressure on the site.
  • Apply dressing to allow the formation of clot as well as seal the wound.
  • A tourniquet can also be used in some cases.
  • If breathing is absent, perform CPR.
  • A gunshot wound on the chest must be sealed with some form of plastic to prevent air from drawn into the wound. This aims in the formation of a collapsed lung. In case the individual starts to complain of shortness of breath that continues to worsen after the wound has been sealed, remove the seal.

In case the gunshot wound occurs above the waist, do not raise the legs. If the wound is in the abdomen or chest, it is likely to bleed rapidly once the legs are raised which makes it harder for the individual to breathe.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a gunshot wound is for learning purposes only. Learn more about the management of this injury by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.


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