Used by surgeons during surgery or in post-operative rehabilitation.
Not suitable for wounds on the neck, head, or chest (torso).
Not suitable for minor injuries (due to tissue damage, extreme pain, and further complications).
It is safe to characterise life-threatening arterial bleeding as the strong pulsing flow or spurting of bright red blood. Whereas, a significant flow (continuous) of dark red blood indicates venous bleeding (which can also be fatal).
The design will determine the exact deployment method. But, the general procedure should include preparation of the injury site, the application, band tightening, and then locking the device in place.
Identifying that an injury may require the application of a tourniquet device is the first step. If so, activate the emergency medical services (EMS) without delay. In some cases, trying to control heavy bleeding might take precedence (unless you can instruct a bystander to call EMS for you).
Apply direct, firm pressure to the wound in an effort to staunch the flow of blood. If the pressure shows signs of success, do not apply a tourniquet.
In some situations, it may not be practical to apply direct pressure to a wound site, such as:
Deteriorating patient condition.
Direct pressure is ineffective in diminishing blood flow.
Loss of scene safety or inaccessibility of the wound.
Cut or remove the victim's clothing to reveal the injury site - and to allow you to apply the tourniquet to bare skin.
Place the device about five (5) centimetres (2 inches) above the wound, between the torso and the injury. It should be placed slightly above the knee or elbow if the wound site is below (but very close to) the knee or the elbow.
If you can't identify the injury site (or there are multiple sites), place the tourniquet as high as you can on the injured limb as appropriate.
You may need to secure the ends of the band and tighten the device until bleeding stops, using either the:
Lock the tourniquet in place after tightening it and make a note of the time of application (TOA). For example, the military uses the technique of writing the exact time it was applied on the patient's forehead (e.g. with a permanent marker).
What if the bleeding restarts again? If so, try to tighten the tourniquet further. NEVER remove it - unless you are a medical professional.
Following that, you may begin to address any other serious injuries, such as symptoms for shock, and arrange the prompt transportation of the patient to the nearest medical centre.
Pro Tip: The loss of blood outweighs the potential hazards that applying a tourniquet may create. The DAN diving organisation has more information about first aid for diving injuries.
FAQ about Catastrophic Bleeding
What's the First Aid Procedure for a Bleeding Wound?
A first aider's priority is to manage the external bleeding by applying direct pressure to the site. Use pads and bandages to maintain the pressure and try to raise the injured limb so it's higher than the heart.
Can You Scuba Dive with an Open Skin Tear?
In fact, you should never go diving if you have an open wound (including the gap created by a recent tooth extraction). You should also avoid scuba diving and snorkeling if you have an infection or you feel sick.
Pro Tip: Clean open wounds with soap and water and wearing an exposure suit will help to protect the skin from further cuts and scrapes while you're diving.
Can Scuba Diving Cause a Bleeding?
The common cause of a nosebleed after scuba diving is middle-ear barotrauma (MEBt). Failing to equalise can cause tiny ruptures in the blood vessels inside the lining of the nose.
Can I Get a Blood Clot from Scuba Diving?
In fact, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is not associated with diving. But, scuba divers are known for traveling to different dive sites around the world. Thus, their exposure to the risk of having DVT is increased.