ST JOHN AMBULANCE: What to do in the event of an amputation

Tips from St John Ambulance
Tips from St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity has teamed up with the Herald and Gazette to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: recognising and dealing with amputation.

A limb that has been partially or completely severed can, in many cases, be reattached by microsurgery.

It is vital to get the casualty and the amputated part to hospital as soon as possible:

• Control blood loss by applying direct pressure and raising the injured part above the casualty’s heart.

• Place a sterile dressing or a non-fluffy, clean pad on the wound and secure it with a bandage.

• Treat the casualty for shock.

• Call 999/112 for emergency help and tell the operator that amputation is involved. Monitor and record vital signs – level of response, breathing and pulse while waiting for help to arrive.

• Wrap the severed part in kitchen film or a plastic bag. Wrap the package in gauze or soft fabric and place it in a container full of crushed ice. Mark the container with the casualty’s name and the time of the injury. Give the package to the emergency service personnel yourself.

Do not wash the severed part and take care not to let it touch the crushed ice when packing it.

Do not give the casualty anything to eat or drink as an anaesthetic might be needed, moisten the lips if he complains of thirst.

Never leave the casualty unattended unless you have to go and call for emergency help.

• For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website { |(|} offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.


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