APPLYING A FIELD DRESSING TO AN EXTREMITY
It is assumed that you have already evaluated the casualty as explained in
Lesson 2 and performed any needed procedures (open the airway, and so
You should put on examination gloves (found in the soldier's individual first
aid kit and the combat lifesaver aid bag) if possible to reduce contamination.
Monitor the casualty's respirations, especially if he is unconscious. If the
casualty stops breathing, administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (see
Lesson 3) unless you are in a chemical environment or in the
care-under-fire phase of a tactical environment.
a. Expose the Wound. If at all possible, expose the wound first by pushing or
cutting away (scissors, bayonet) loose clothing around the casualty's wound. This will
enable you to better view the extent of the injury.
Clothing or anything else stuck to the wound should be left alone to
avoid further injury. Cut or tear around the stuck material so that the stuck
material remains undisturbed. Do not attempt to clean the wound.
Do not remove protective clothing in a chemical environment.
Apply dressings over the protective clothing.
b. Check for Entrance and Exit Wounds. Before applying the dressing,
carefully examine the casualty to determine if there is more than one wound. A missile
may have entered at one point and exited at another point. The exit wound is usually
larger than the entrance wound. If there is an entrance wound and an exit wound, both
wounds need to be bandaged.
If the missile lodges in the body (fails to exit), do not attempt to remove
it or probe the wound.
If there is an object extending from (impaled in) the wound, do not
remove the object. Apply a dressing around the object and use additional
improvised bulky materials/dressings made from the cleanest material
available to build up the area around the object. This will stabilize the
object and help prevent further injury. Apply a supporting bandage over
the bulky materials to hold them in place.