Mary MuellerOct 4, 2017, 8:36 pm

How to save someone’s life after they’ve been shot

Would you know what to do if someone were bleeding from a bullet wound?

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Civilians were forced to become first responders during the mass shooting in Las Vegas. As gunfire rained down, people who refused to leave strangers behind quickly turned to acts of heroism. One woman turned a ladder into a gurney while others used their own vehicles as ambulances.

We'd all like to think if we saw someone shot and bleeding we would help, but saving someone with moments to live requires the ability to create a make-shift tourniquet.

The first thing anyone should do if someone has suffered a bullet wound is to stop the bleeding, says White Plains Hospital emergency room Doctor Erik Larsen.

Dr. Larsen says if a bullet hits a major artery you could bleed to death in just three to four minutes. So, if you needed to help someone he says you would need to use a piece of clothing to stop blood flow.

“You want to get as much direct pressure on the wound and just press down and don't let go," he advised.

If you have applied pressure but the bleeding hasn’t stopped, you may need a tourniquet, but this isn’t something people usually carry around with them and sometimes you just have to improvise with an item of clothing.

The doctor says you should tie the makeshift tourniquet a few inches above the wound and create a knot. Then you have to find an object like a piece of wood or a broomstick, something sturdy, to place through the knot to use as a lever to twist the fabric tightly over the wound.

One of the hardest places to stop bleeding is on the armpit or the groin, so Dr. Larsen says a person with this type of wound should lay down so that a person can place their knee into the bleeding area.

"Those areas you can't use tourniquets or it's very hard to use tourniquets so you are putting direct pressure onto the area,” he said.

Once the bleeding has stopped, the person has to be taken out of the area of danger by any means necessary—even if that means dragging the wounded to safety like many concertgoers did during the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

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