Doom and Bloom: Wound Debridement

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up on the skill of wound debridement – the removal of necrotic tissue and foreign objects from a wound which may impede healing. There are some wound photos, so be warned.

Medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and paramedics and the high-tech equipment they work with are the heart of advanced medical care. When highly-trained personnel are unavailable, it becomes the responsibility of the average citizen to obtain medical education and supplies. Lack of knowledge and materials will cost lives in any situation where modern care is not an option.

Few medical pros can handle every medical issue
Knowing how to stop hemorrhage is very important, but the medic in austere settings will be required to do much more with an open wound. Indeed, they will be responsible for it from the time it was inflicted to full recovery. A good start is knowing “prehospital care”.  Few of us, however (including most medical professionals), are prepared to handle the complexities of the entire healing process when there is no hospital.

In today’s medicine, few providers care for every medical issue experienced by a patient. Even generalists send their patients to specialists for specific problems. In a survival setting, this is no longer possible. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand wound healing and the procedures that help a victim make a full recovery. One of these procedures is debridement.

Debridement is the removal of devitalized (“necrotic”) tissue and foreign objects from a wound. Most minor acute wounds heal just fine with cleaning and regular evaluation, but more severe wounds, burns, and bedsores may require intervention. Debridement is a way to eliminate obstacles to good healing.

Debridement speeds the healing process in various ways. Dead tissue inhibits the development of healthy new cells and makes the area susceptible to infection. It can also hide the signs of bacterial invasion.

Debridement is rarely taught in standard first aid courses. Even high-level education meant to deal with emergency trauma can get your victim to the hospital, but little for days or weeks down the road. I would guess that a volunteer stint with Doctors Without Borders might be closest, short of a surgical residency.

A variety of techniques are used to accomplish debridement and more than one type may be used on the same patient…

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