iCare – Uncontrolled Bleeding – ER Services Page
The sight of blood can be unsettling, even if it is only a small amount from a minor cut. When the blood loss is severe and uncontrolled, it’s not only shocking to see – but it can also be a life-threatening situation that needs medical attention right away.
How do you know when bleeding merits a visit to the nearest emergency room? Knowing basic first-aid and the warning signs of uncontrolled bleeding are important to protect the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Internal or External Bleeding
External bleeding is the medical term that is used when you can see blood coming outside of the body. But sometimes the blood isn’t visible in a medical emergency. For example, when internal bleeding occurs, it means that blood loss is happening, and the blood is pooling in the wrong place inside the body, usually because of leaking from a damaged organ or blood vessel.
With certain injuries, the blood exits through a natural body opening, such as the nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina. Or, blood loss can happen when the skin is damaged, which creates an unnatural opening where the blood can flow out.
What to Do for Severe Bleeding
A few important first-aid steps should be followed when severe bleeding occurs:
- Remove Clothing or Debris: Look at the wound and remove any debris or clothing. If objects are embedded deeply, then they should be left in place until a doctor can inspect the injury. At this point, don’t try to clean the wound. The top priority is to stop the bleeding. If they are available, it is best to wear rubber gloves for your protection.
- Stop the Bleeding: A clean cloth or sterile bandage can be placed on the wound. Then, press against the cloth firmly to maintain consistent pressure. When the bleeding slows or stops, the bandage can be bound to maintain pressure. When possible, keep the injury raised above the level of the heart. Don’t apply pressure if an object is embedded in the wound.
- Leave the Bandage: When the bleeding stops, keep the bandage or gauze over the wound. Even if the bandage is soaked through, another bandage should be added on top. Keep these bandages in place until a doctor is present to treat the wound.
- Immobilize the Wound: Minimize the person’s movement and immobilize the injured part of the body as much as possible. The person should be lying down to avoid fainting.
- Stay Calm: Do your best to keep the person calm, which helps by controlling their blood pressure and heart rate.
- Seek Medical Attention: Depending on your proximity to the nearest ER and the severity of the injury, it is important to either call 911 or immediately take the person to the nearest emergency room.
When Bleeding Requires Emergency Care
How can you tell when first-aid isn’t sufficient for an injury? Here are some of the signs that you need to seek emergency care for severe bleeding:
- A nose bleed continues for more than an hour, and direct pressure on the bridge of the nose doesn’t slow the bleeding
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the stool
- A wound from a recent surgery opens and starts bleeding
- Bleeding can’t be controlled by direct pressure
- The patient is taking blood thinners, which make it harder for the blood to clot
- Bleeding is caused by a traumatic injury, such as a puncture wound, laceration, or crushing injury
- The person has a fever
- Bleeding is internal
- The person is in shock
- A tourniquet is required to slow the bleeding
- Stitches may be needed to close the wound
- An object is embedded in the wound
- The injury was caused by a bite from an animal or human
One of the benefits of choosing iCare ER and Urgent Care is that we provide support for emergency treatments as well as common medical concerns. If you suspect that you need emergency care for uncontrolled bleeding, then our board-certified staff is available 24/7 to provide the services you need. Come to our emergency room, or call if you have questions about available services: (214) 407-8668.