Welcome to the end times.
We're pleased to have you here, and we hope that this informative lesson will help you now that your life is in constant danger. We've decided that the hierarchy of Very Important Things
goes something like this:
1. Gathering food and obtaining water.
2. Finding shelter.
3. Responding to medical emergencies.
4. Obtaining a healthy fear of anyone in your surrounding area.
Today we would like to focus on No. 3, under the assumption that you've already figured out how to find food, water, and shelter. If you hadn't, you very likely wouldn't still be alive and reading this.
Let's begin with something simple (and maybe a little important).
How to stop bleeding.
First of all, you'll want to expose the Large Gaping Wound. We hope that you've made the decision to find a safe place, free of nomadic cannibals or wild dogs, to treat your injured friend. In case you haven't, now would be the time to do so.
Let's expose the large Gaping Wound in your friend's abdomen.
Yes. Lovely. First off, applying direct pressure is important. So you ought to do that. Press firmly on your friend's Gaping Wound in order to stop the bleeding.
One way to both decrease your friend's horrendously large chance of infection (you are running for your lives, aren't you?) and help stop the bleeding is to reach into your pocket and take out the conveniently located sterile gauze pad you've been keeping just for this sort of occasion.
Place it over the large Gaping Wound and press down firmly.
On the off chance that you're missing your sterile gauze pad or the bleeding refuses to stop, duct tape is a nice way to tamponade and contain the hemorrhage.
If your friend has managed to eviscerate himself in the process of obtaining the Gaping Wound, there's a slightly different set of instructions involving saran wrap and a large amount of duct tape, but that will be covered in next week's survival guide.
Now for section two.
Setting a broken leg.
Obviously your friend is a little upset right now. You've just narrowly escaped the nomadic cannibals, who move at an alarmingly fast rate. He tripped over a root while running (something he's done a thousand times without any previous harm). He's in pain, and he's not happy. After you've managed to get him somewhere safe, whether by him limping along like the invalid he now is or by dragging his useless carcass, you have some important steps to follow.
Let's have a look at your very unhappy friend.
See how his leg is twisted all funny?
You get one (1) chance to straighten it out. That's it. If it doesn't work, you'll just have to splint it bent like it already is. If your friend's pedal pulse (taken at the top of the foot) disappears after you straighten his leg, you need to stop unbending it. Something has gone wrong, and it's best that you leave it as is.
But on the off chance that nothing goes wrong, after you've straightened it you can stabilize his ankle by applying just a little bit of traction (by pulling just a little bit
). If not, instructions will follow on how to make a splint. Or, if you're very lucky and your comrades haven't turned on you and tried to steal your food/ammunition, you can have one of them apply manual traction while you prepare the splint.
Now is the time to pull out your fancy vacuum splint or the convenient broken boards you've been hauling around since this whole apocalypse thing started. In case you don't have either of those things (which we suppose is understandable), you can make a splint out of tree branches, rolled up newspaper, sturdy clothes, or anything that doesn't like to bend.
We've decided to demonstrate with rolled up jackets and the assumption that your friend fractured his lower leg, probably the tibia. We sincerely hope you've got a good stockpile of these jackets on hand, because the oncoming nuclear winter isn't going to be particularly forgiving.
Roll up two jackets and place them on either side of the injured leg.
If you're using rope or string to secure the splint, slide it under the leg and tie it above and below the injured site. If you're using duct tape, do the same thing but be sure that you'll be able to remove it fairly quickly if necessary.
Your friend certainly won't be able to walk for awhile, but he'll feel a little bit better once he's all splinted up.
In either of these situations, the best thing to do would be receive actual medical attention. These instructions have been given under the assumption that the hospitals and EMT services have already been knocked out and you're absolutely desperate for medical advice.
These instructions are in no way definitive, and we've taken them from an old emergency medicine textbook we had before our fallout shelter was destroyed. We've learned from experience that duct tape (occasionally) works better than gauze pads. We've heard that sugar will help stop bleeding, but we don't really recommend it for that large Gaping Wound. Use it instead when you've got a smaller cut and you're all out of bandages.
Be on the lookout for our next weekly installment.
Good luck and godspeed.