Heavy (catastrophic) bleeding care

First aid advice:

If someone is bleeding very heavily as a result of a stabbing, shooting or RTC, your help is crucial as a patient can die in just five minutes. The main aim is to prevent further blood loss and minimise the effects of shock.

  • First, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance as soon as possible.
  • If you have disposable gloves, use them to reduce the risk of any infection being passed on.
  • Check that there’s nothing embedded in the wound. If there is, take care not to press down on the object. Instead, press firmly on either side of the object and build up padding around it before bandaging to avoid putting pressure on the object itself.

If nothing is embedded:

  • Apply and maintain pressure to the wound with your gloved hand, using a clean pad or dressing if possible. Continue to apply pressure until the bleeding stops.
  • Use a clean dressing to bandage the wound firmly.
  • If bleeding continues through the pad, apply pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops, and then apply another pad over the top and bandage it in place. Do not remove the original pad or dressing, but continue to check that the bleeding has stopped.

If a body part, such as a finger, has been severed, place it in a plastic bag or wrap it in cling film. Do not wash the severed limb.

  • Wrap the package in soft fabric and place in a container of crushed ice. Do not let the limb touch the ice.
  • Make sure the severed limb goes with the patient to hospital.

Always seek medical help for bleeding, unless it’s minor.

Bleed control kit:

More and more Bleed Control Kits are being installed across the West Midlands after they were launched in 2019. The Daniel Baird Foundation was set up by his family after he was fatally stabbed while out with friends in Birmingham in July 2017. Daniel died shortly after arriving at hospital due to catastrophic bleeding.

The Bleed Control Kits were launched in partnership with the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership (BCSP), campaigner Lynne Baird of The Daniel Baird Foundation and developed by the West Midlands Trauma Network and West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Patients suffering catastrophic bleeds from serious injuries such as those caused by a stabbing, shooting or car accident can prove fatal in as little as three to five minutes if the bleeding is not stemmed. The kit contains several items that really could make all the difference: including a Tourniquet, haemostatic gauze, and a chest seal. More information on how to use these kits can be found here and via The Daniel Baird Foundation page here.