American Partisan: Ditch Medicine – Projectile Injuries

The medical staff at American Partisan has a short article out, Ditch Medicine: Projectile Injuries, talking about the relative futility of treating gunshot wounds in an austere environment. There are many people in the preparedness movement who are counting on their military tactical training to equip them for any offensive or defensive violence that they may encounter in an extreme disaster situation. They may not realize that modern military tactics rely on the long logistical tail not only for materiel but for medical response. Some tactics are taught, knowing that they will cause some casualties, but relying on rapid self-aid and quick evacuation to medical hospitals to keep loss of life low. And the US military medical establishing has made great strides in saving lives on the battlefield which previously would have resulted in death.  However, in an extreme disaster/SHTF/WROL/TEOTWAWKI situation, that rapid medical treatment will probably not be available to you. Tactics should be adjusted accordingly where possible.

Projectile injuries commonly present as gunshot wounds or fragmentation injuries. All missiles destroy tissue through tearing a hole called the permanent cavity. Injury also occurs by displacing, or stretching, tissue away from the projectile path much the way water moves away from a rock thrown in it; it’s a temporary cavitation effect. Can they be treated with the simple supplies available in an austere situation?

Sadly, the answer is mostly “no.”

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