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Real Life Tourniquet Story

The fact of the matter is, you don't know what is possible until it happens to you. Training and experience will dictate how you go about things, but at the end of the day, situations are so different that you may as well prepare for as many as possible. Carrying a gun is one thing but carrying medical is equally important.

For the first time in my life, I had to deploy my North American Rescue CAT tourniquet today to stop my significant other's father from bleeding out. With approximately a 15-minute response time to his location, preparation for the event was made easier, as my vehicle is well equipped for a myriad of things. Upon my arrival, I observed the laceration (about two inches from his femoral artery) and immediately opened my trunk to retrieve my tourniquet. There was a lot of blood which he stated was coming out in spurts. He described it as light red and fast, not dark and slowly oozing. Hmmmm, arterial maybe? Turns out it was, and my tourniquet application possibly saved his life. My training kicked in, and I was able to stop the bleeding, transport him to the nearest hospital, and successfully get him to higher care.

After transporting him and getting him to the ER, nurses, doctors, and hospital security thanked me and told me my application of the device was great. I didn't really want to be thanked as it was just another incident I knew how to handle, but it was nice to know my training kicked in when it mattered. Don't buy cheap shit, don't skimp out on training, and don't quit. Always remember that in a situation like the one stated above, sympathetic reflex, tunnel vision, and loss of color recognition may occur. The more you train, the less these things will affect you.

The pictures attached depict the original tourniquet I deployed, as well and sweatshirt that his leg had bled on to. If you look closely, you can see the time of tourniquet deployment (12:04). In the heat of the moment, I didn't want anyone to question the time, so I used a regular time stamp. Everything I do is on a 24-hr clock for work, and as such, there is no confusion with am vs pm. Looking back on this incident, black marker on his arm with big numbers would have been smarter than writing small on the provided tourniquet time stamp in red!

Editor’s Note: While attending combat first-aid training they covered tourniquets and instructed us to write a “ T “ along with the time on the casualty’s forehead or cheek so that it was immediately visible to medical personnel.

Copyright, RATH-Defense, LLC 2019

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