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The STS blog

6 Dec 2017

How to handle a knife wound

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On the 17th October 2017, the front page of the London Evening Standard played host to a number of shocking statistics regarding the rise of knife offences and youth killings.

As a topic that is horrendous to discuss but seemingly more and more necessary, we at STS have decided to dedicate a blog post to treating knife wounds and stopping bleeding.

Unfortunately, as a first aid company, we aren’t able to solely do anything to stop the rise of these horrific crimes nor can we discourage youths carrying knives but we can impart life-saving knowledge to help someone in this specific situation.

Often, when we ask someone, “What would you do if someone was bleeding severely?” the common reply is, “I’d wrap a bandage around the wound.”

However, realistically, do any of us walk around with bandages in our pockets? It might surprise you that even as first aid trainers we don’t carry a first aid kit around like a briefcase.

The most vital part of information needed to treat someone bleeding heavily is simple. A piece of knowledge that would usually be innate no matter what age we are.

We apply pressure.

Even if we did have an abundance of bandages to hand, it’s not the bandage itself that stops the bleeding. It’s the pressure that the bandage is applying.

So this fact in itself should help to boost your confidence. To know that you don’t necessarily need first aid equipment to help in this scenario.

All we need is a jacket, a jumper, a scarf, a shirt. And if its summer and you’re not wearing any of that useful gear? All you’ll need is a hand. Whether it’s their hand, your hand, the hand of a stranger walking past. It doesn’t matter. Because all that does is the pressure. (If it’s the latter, please ask them first before using their hand to stop a bleed!).

People often ask, “But what about infection?”

What we need to remember at this point is that our main priority is to stop the bleed. Infection can always be sorted at hospital. If we can use a clean object to stop the bleed that’s ideal but it may not always be the case.

“What about elevating the bleeding area?” is another common question. Again, something we don’t need to worry about. Elevation has recently been scientifically proven to not have a huge effect on a severe bleed. If you were to do this it would, by no means, cause any harm or further damage, it’s just not something we need to focus on.

In regards to knife wounds in particular, often they will be on the abdomen or torso area which is understandably difficult to elevate anyway. Remember to apply pressure and that can be enough.

We hope that you never find yourselves in this situation of course. However, knowing what to do to help yourself or someone else who may be bleeding due to stabbing or any other reason can be life-saving.

After all, that is exactly why we, at STS, are here.