Monday, March 18, 2024

My Friend Could Not Stop the Bleed

A close friend of mine died recently—he shot himself in the left femoral artery and bled to death. It may have been an accident or it may have been intentional, the totality of recent circumstances in his life leave me and his other friends in doubt. We will never know with certainty; however, we do know that regardless of the original intent, he did try to apply a tourniquet but was not successful.

This prompted some reflection on my part. I consulted a friend of mine (Troy M.), a retired emergency room physician and my wife (also a former ER physician) and asked that given a “worst case scenario” how fast could you bleed out from a cut femoral artery? They both stated that worse case would be 60 – 90 seconds depending upon where and how the artery was damaged.

If the worst case is that you are by yourself (as my friend was), dealing with the shock and trauma from a gunshot, and with a 60 second clock ticking, digging through boxes to find the tourniquet you need to save your life is probably not going to work.

I tend to handle firearms in only two places in my home – the master bedroom and my workroom. The master bedroom is where I don and remove my every day carry pistol and my workroom is where I dry practice, clean, and maintain firearms.

Our master bedroom doubles as our safe room, so we have a complete trauma kit with tourniquets properly staged and other medical supplies ready to treat gunshot wounds and to stop the bleed.

That was not the case in my workroom. Although I do store medical supplies in my workroom, I did not have anything properly staged and ready for immediate use. I have corrected that oversight. Rest in peace my friend.

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