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How to Treat a Gunshot Wound: A Quick Guide

    Around 67,000 gunshot injuries happen every year in the United States. That’s on top of 32,000 gun-related deaths.

    Though those numbers seem pretty big, chances are you won’t fall victim to a gunshot. Despite your risk of being injured or killed by a gun being generally low, it’s still good to know what to do if you’re ever involved in this scary situation. The stakes are high, after all. 

    Read on to learn how to treat a gunshot wound, it may just save your life. 

    Mechanism of Injury

    A gunshot injury occurs when a bullet is shot into the body. Gunshot wounds are serious and can cause severe injury and even death. 

    Commonly seen injuries include tissue damage, bleeding, broken bones, organ damage, and paralysis. If wounds aren’t treated properly, serious infections can happen. 

    A Note About Safety

    When you or someone you’re with gets shot, the most important thing is to get safety. If you’re a victim of a gun attack, try to escape the shooter. It’s important to get to safety immediately so that you can begin to tend to the injuries and call for help.

    Once you’re in a safe area, call 911.

    How to Treat a Gunshot Wound Immediately

    If you’re in an emergency where you have to treat a gunshot wound, the last thing you want to be doing is searching on the internet what to do. Take the following actions to help prevent worsening injury or even death. 

    Identify the Shot Area

    The first thing that you need to do when tending to the wound is to identify where exactly has been shot. Immediate care after the shot will depend on the severity of the wound, as well as what part of the body is injured. 

    Abdominal, chest, and head wounds are by far the most serious overall. The most critical thing you can do if someone has one of these types of wounds is to get emergency help as soon as possible.

    Stop the Bleeding

    Losing blood can cause serious complications, so unless the person is not breathing, stopping the bleeding is first and foremost. If they aren’t breathing, perform CPR.

    Apply pressure to the wound, serious pressure! Find a dressing, like a shirt, and press it against the wound. You may try to use something like a shirt or tie as a tourniquet if the injury is on an extremity, but these don’t always work.  

    Get Professional Care 

    If you’re able to get professional care, do so. There are many facets of expert help that you should seek after dealing with a gunshot wound. 

    Medical Care 

    It’s crucial that the bullet fragments are removed and that any risk of infection is addressed. Make sure that you go to the emergency room or doctors to get the gunshot looked at.

    Mental Health Support

    There is a lot to deal with after a gunshot injury, and it isn’t all physical. Being involved in a gun incident can cause trauma and you may need emotional support. 

    Legal Action

    If the injury was by accident or due to the fault of others, you may have the ability to sue for compensation. Contact someone specifically for your type of injury, like a personal injury or brain injury attorney.

    Better Safe Than Sorry

    In the terrifying moments of a gunshot injury, it can be helpful to be ready and know what steps to take. Now that you know how to treat a gunshot wound and seek appropriate help, you’re that much more prepared. 

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