Gunshot wound: First aid treatment guidelines

gunshot wound care

It’s very difficult to assess the extent of damage caused by a gunshot wound and it typically far exceeds what you can reasonably treat with first aid. For this reason, the best option is to get the victim to a hospital as soon as possible.

Surviving a gunshot wound depends greatly on how quickly a patient gets to a hospital. Ideally, a gunshot wound patient should be on the way to a hospital in an ambulance within 10 minutes of being shot. However, there are some first aid measures that you can take before professional assistance arrives.

Gunshot wound: first aid treatment

First and foremost, be in a safe position

If the victim was shot unintentionally e.g., while hunting, make sure that everyone’s firearm is pointed away from others, cleared of ammo, safe, and secured. If the victim was shot in a crime, verify that the shooter is no longer on the scene and that both you and the victim are safe from further injury.

To add to, call for help.

Dial your local emergency number for medical assistance. Be certain to give the operator your precise location.

Furthermore, keep the victim in place

Do not move the victim unless you must do so to keep him safe or access care. Moving the victim could aggravate further injury. Elevate the wound to limit bleeding.

Moreover, be fast and act quickly

Time is very key in treating the victim. Victims who reach medical facilities during the “Golden Hour” have a much better likelihood of surviving. Try to keep your movements swift without making the person feel more upset or panicked.

Also, apply direct pressure to control bleeding

Take cloth, bandage or gauze and press directly against the wound using the palm of your hand. Continue for at least ten minutes. If bleeding does not stop, check the location of the wound and consider re-positioning yourself. Add new bandages over the old when they become soaked.

Additionally, apply dressing.

If the bleeding subsides, cover the wound with a cloth or gauze. Wrap it around the wound to apply pressure. Do not, however, wrap so tightly that the victim loses circulation or feeling in her extremities.

Last but not the least, observe for shock.

Gunshot wounds frequently leads to shock due to trauma or loss of blood. Expect that a gunshot victim will show signs of shock and treat them accordingly by making sure the victim’s body temperature remains consistent. Cover the person so that he does not get cold. Loosen tight clothing and drape him in a blanket or coat. Typically you would want to elevate the legs of someone experiencing shock, but refrain from doing so if they might have a spinal injury or a wound in the torso.

Finally, stay with the person until help arrives.

Reassure and keep the victim warm. Wait for the authorities. If the blood congeals around the bullet wound, do not remove blood mats on the gunshot wound, as this is acting to stop the blood and prevent any more from flowing out.

This may also interest you

PID causes, symptoms, risk factors and prevention

Typhoid Fever: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention & More

About felclinic 593 Articles
Felix Ntifo is a Registered General Nurse who has so much passion to improve health care delivery. He founded FelClinic with the hope of making health information accessible to everyone who may not come in contact with him personally. "At we are very passionate about health and well-being of everyone. Our team is made up of professional doctors, nurses, midwives and lab technicians."

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.