How To Stop The Bleeding From Veins Or Arteries
( Originally Published 1936 )
An injury followed by bleeding that does not stop immediately always warrants attention and should have treatment.
In order to give intelligent treatment, diagnosis must be made. The important feature in the diagnosis is whether or not the bleeding is coming from an artery or a vein. In order to arrive at a conclusion you must know a little about the circulation of the blood.
The blood leaves the heart by way of the arteries, enters the great bed of small vessels, the capillaries, and so into the tissues, and returns to the heart by way of the veins. Bleeding from an artery characterized by the fact that the blood is ejected by successive pushes of the heart, and comes out in a forceful series of spurts. The Iarger the artery, the less noticeable the spurting is, and in these frequently the blood comes out with a hiss. Bleeding from a vein, on the contrary, will be a steady, soaking flow.
The blood loses oxygen in the tissues and takes up carbon dioxide, and in doing so changes in color from bright red to dark purple.
Arterial blood will, therefore, be red, and venous blood purple—another point in differentiation.
To stop bleeding from an artery, compress the artery between the opening and the heart. In order words, if the cut is through the artery at the wrist a tourniquet, or constriction, should be thrown around the arm above the wrist. If you do not have anything to act as a tourniquet, such as a towel or a handkerchief or a necktie, and if the bleeding is very severe, before the tourniquet can be improvised, make pressure on the artery between the cut and the heart. The pressure points are: Fora cut on the scalp, press on the temple; for a cut in the temple, press in front of the big muscle of the neck; for a cut on the arm, press against the middle of the upper arm; for a cut on the fingers, press at one side or the other of the wrists; for a cut in the leg, press exactly in the middle of the groin; on the lower leg, press exactly in the center of the knee behind; and for a cut on the toe, press exactly over the highest part of the front of the foot.
To stop venous bleeding, pressure is made directly over the site of the bleeding, preferably with a sterile piece of gauze, if you have it, but with a handkerchief or a towel or the hand, if you haven't.
In any cases of severe bleeding, probably the best thing to do first is to press down right over the bleeding just as hard as you can, pressing the soft parts against the hard parts underneath.