Doctor’s ‘Brilliant’ New First Aid Technique May Stem Blood Loss After Shark Attack | Medical research
An emergency department doctor says he’s developed a simple new way to help save the lives of shark attack victims in the crucial moments after a bite.
The technique is described in an article published today in the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia and works by closing off the femoral artery to prevent a person from bleeding quickly.
Applying the technique involves a second person making a fist and pressing it into a person’s groin at the central point between the hip bone and the genitals.
From there, all they need to do is lock their right arm and use their body weight to apply pressure until the blood flow to the wound stops.
Following these steps saves the victim time while help can be sought.
Dr Nicholas Taylor, associate dean of ANU medical school, surfer and lead author of the study, said he started to develop the idea after a family vacation in Western Australia at one time where there had been a wave of shark attacks.
“I was looking for some ways to make myself a little more shark resistant,” he says.
After talking to lifeguards and surfers, he found that most would react instinctively to a shark bite injury by exerting direct pressure on it or trying to make a tourniquet from the material they had on hand.
Dr Taylor said his emergency room training told him it would be a mistake.
“A shark bite is a terrible sawing motion and putting pressure on it wouldn’t work,” he said. “And it would be great if every surfer wore a tourniquet, but that’s not going to happen.”
A better solution, he thought, would be to cut off the blood flow to the femoral artery as taught in medical schools and practiced in emergency departments.
To test the technique’s effectiveness, Dr. Taylor helped organize a study of 34 healthy volunteers. Although the sample size was small, it took more than double the 16 participants recommended by a pilot study for it to be statistically significant.
Participants received no prior training or instruction on how to apply the maneuver before attempting it, and the results were compared to the effects of using a makeshift tourniquet from a leg rope. surfboard.
Closure of the femoral artery stopped all blood flow to the leg in three out of four participants, while the use of the tourniquet reduced blood flow by 43.8%. An ultrasound was used to assess blood flow in the artery and in the limb.
The researchers also tested whether a wetsuit could make things more difficult, but found that it made no difference.
Now Dr Taylor says he wants to see the technique incorporated into first aid training – and to help, he has developed a mnemonic to remember the process: “push hard between hip and bit”.
However, for this to happen, it would first have to be approved by the Australian Resuscitation Council and incorporated into their guidelines for the management of bleeding wounds.
Dr Anthony Brown, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Queensland who was not involved in the study, said the new approach was “brilliant” and should be considered for inclusion in training programs. first aid, especially for surfing and surfing. community at large.
“It’s a fantastic idea that saves lives. Nothing else helps, ”Dr Brown said. “By the time you need to practice mouth-to-mouth or CPR in a shark attack, it’s too late. This means that the person has bloodied [drained of blood]. “
Compared to applying pressure to the wound itself, Dr Brown said this technique would be more effective as it would prevent the potential reopening of arteries that might have closed in spasm.
“Your only priority should be to stop the bleeding and wait for help,” he said. “You’re a little confused if you’re the only one there, but usually there is someone else to help you. No one surfs alone.