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Question about tourniquets

Discussion in 'Research' started by Selena, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. Selena

    Selena Acolyte

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    So my character is fighting in this arena and she receives a wound to the leg. She has to fight another fight immediately after with no medical attention. A few questions
    -At what point would she need a tourniquet?
    -If she needed one, what would be the chances she wouldn't lose her leg with a skilled medic?
    -How long can a tourniquet be on?
    -With a tourniquet on, how difficult would it be to fight? (not with a sword or anything, she has magic that she can use. More the mobility side of it)
    -Could a bone be used to tie the tourniquet instead of a stick? (She has magic that would allow her to sever the bones from an opponent she just killed pretty easily and there are no sticks in the arena)
     
  2. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

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    If she had a tourniquet on her leg, that leg would be useless. She wouldn't be able to keep fighting. What tourniquets do is cut the circulation completely. You need circulation in a limb to be able to use it.

    Tourniquets may be used in case of severe, life threatening bleeding, and they're a last resort. The first step is to put direct pressure on the wound. If that's not stopping it fast enough, that's when you'd consider a tourniquet. And that's first aid protocol that's changed in recent years. For decades, tourniquets were not advised at all.

    If she needs a tourniquet, she's bleeding so severely that her life is in danger. If she's bleeding that severely, she's too injured to fight. With a less severe wound, she might be able to keep fighting after some first aid, but then there would be no question of a tourniquet.
     
  3. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    OK, assuming you don't have modern medical technology in your fantasy world. And writing this as someone who has had to apply a tourniquet to a severely injured colleague (yes, they survived - but were so severely hurt that they were medically retired).

    Generally, the first thing you do if someone has a very deep wound is stuff it with clean cloths and then put presure on the wound to stop the bleeding. If this doesn't work you apply a tourniquet. Either way, the injury will be so severe that the person won't be able to continue fighting and in reality the person would probably be unconscious due to blood loss.

    If you can stop the bleeding without a tourniquet then there is a chance that the injury will eventually heal and the person will have use of the limb to some degree - the injury itself determines how much use they have.

    If you end up applying a tourniquet then the chances are that the person will lose the limb. Modern medical technology is such that if you can get the person to a suitably equipped medical post quickly enough (within 60 minutes, preferably within 30 minutes) they can often save the limb, but if that doesn't exist in your world then the character will lose the limb. The tourniquet itself is very painful (yes, we practised on one another) - it has to be very tight to be effective. Just tying a rope or belt around the limb won't be enough - you need to tighten the rope around the limb with something like a thick wooden stick or metal bar to apply enough pressure. There is no way at all that you can use a limb after a tourniquet has been applied.

    In both cases the person will probably live, provided that they survive the initial combination of shock and blood loss - this is not a given, and the first 20 minutes or so after being injured are critical. After that, the degree of infection will determine how things go - gangrene is a real risk. Using hot wine to clean the would will help keep infection down, but won't eliminate it completely.
     
  4. Selena

    Selena Acolyte

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    Okay, thank you. This helps!
     
    Rosemary Tea likes this.
  5. Karlin

    Karlin Dreamer

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    Medics are are taught to mark on a person's forehead if they have a tourniquet and what time it was put in place, so that when the wounded soldier reaches a field hospital they'll know what the situation is immediately.
     
  6. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    We were taught, if the casualty is not screaming at you, that the tourniquet is too tight, then it is not tight enough*.
    *Okay, they do have to be conscious for this metric to work...
     
  7. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    You don't just mark them if they have a tourniquet on, you write every injury you've found, what you've done or given them (and when) on them somewhere. All soldiers (at least here in Sweden) are taught to do this, which means that casualties can turn up with an arm or leg (or even shaved head) covered in writing...
     
  8. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    Thats true when you're training. But when you do it for real you realise that the casualty is usually either already in so much pain or so reduced in consciousness from shock and blood loss (or, sometimes, both) that they don't notice how tight the tourniquet is. So you judge tightness by how much the bleeding is reduced.
     
  9. Karlin

    Karlin Dreamer

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    Here, In Israel, we plain soldiers were taught how to place a tourniquet, but only to write the initials (in Hebrew) that indicate a tourniquet and the time in 24 hour notation.
     
  10. Selena

    Selena Acolyte

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    Thanks to all of you this has been very helpful!
     
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