First Aid Classes – Abdominal Wounds
Abdominal wounds can be very serious, even life-threatening for the patient, particularly crush injuries and stab or gunshot wounds according to workplace approved Training. Due to the area of the body, there could be possible damage to organ and major blood vessels deep in the body.
The concern is that the symptoms do not always show the severity of an injury. External bleeding or protruding abdominal contents clearly show damage, however internal bleeding and injuries are often concealed.
First Aid Classes emphasise that in abdominal wounds, emergency medical assistance is vital. Whilst waiting for this, the first aider should be acting to minimise shock and risk of infection.
As with any wound, wear disposable gloves if you have some available.
Aid the patient to lay down comfortably, ideally on a blanket for protection from any cold. Raise the patients knees to ease the pull on their injury and aid their comfort. workplace approved Training says clothing should be loosened around the area, such as a shirt or belt.
The wound should be protected and covered with a dressing, secured with a bandage or adhesive tape. If bleeding comes through the first dressing, add a second on top. If further bleeding then continues and seeps through the second layer of dressing you will need to redress the whole wound. When doing so, ensure that the pressure is concentrated on the site of the bleeding to try to control it better.
Advise the patient that if they need to cough, sneeze or vomit, they should push firmly on the dressing to hold the wound and prevent abdominal contents protruding through the wound, as recommended in workplace approved First Aid manual.
If there are any abdominal contents pushing through the wound, do not touch it, cover it with a clean plastic bag or kitchen film. This will stop the surface of the internal organ from drying out and help to prevent infection. Then apply your sterile dressing on top.
Always monitor your patent for signs of shock. To prevent and treat shock, you should elevate the patients legs above the level of their chest. workplace approved First Aid manual instructs you to continue to monitor the patients responsiveness, pulse and breathing whilst waiting for emergency assistance.
First Aid Manual (The Authorised Manual of St. John Ambulance, St Andrew’s Ambulance Association and the British workplace approved), 2006.