Responses to gunshot wounds outlined at EMS Expo
Nearly 500,000 people use the EMS system in the United States for penetrating gunshot wounds, with nearly 10 percent of those resulting in a fatality
By Jamie Thompson
EMS1 Senior Editor
EMS responses to gunshot wounds were outlined during a session at EMS Expo in Dallas on Thursday.
Ken Bouvier, a paramedic and administrative liaison for New Orleans EMS, explained how nearly 500,000 people use the EMS system in the United States for penetrating gunshot wounds, with nearly 10 percent of those resulting in a fatality.
“We have lot of shootings (in New Orleans) and I think I can cover this topic pretty well,” he told the session.
“Chapter one of every EMS textbook talks about scene safety. Let law enforcement clear that scene before you go rushing in.”
Bouvier said there are four key areas for scene safety when responding to gunshot wounds:
- Good communications and information
- Try not to draw attention on scene
- Leave the scene if it appears unsafe
- Do not be confrontational
“When I was young, I would slap you in a heartbeat,” Bouvier said, referring to when he would be threatened while on calls during his younger days.
“Now that I am older, it’s easier for me to talk away. Also, wear body armor. People laugh at me – ‘Why does the paramedic wear body armor?’ Because I’m smart.”
Covering airway assessment, Bouvier said when responders are assessing the airway of a person with a gunshot wound, they should look in the mouth for:
- Broken Teeth
- The bullet
In addition, among the things to remember when treating abdominal gunshot trauma, according to Bouvier, are:
- Entrance size does not indicate the amount of tissue and organ damage
- Exit wound can be two to three times larger than the entrance
- Check disguised areas such as pubic hair and rectal area