ER or Not: BleedingMar 12, 2014
If someone’s bleeding and it doesn’t seem to stop, should you go to the ER? Emergency room physician Dr. Troy Madsen answers the question of 'how much blood is a concerning amount of blood?’ He also talks about what you can do at home to stop the bleeding before determining if a visit to the ER is necessary.
Interviewer: Is it bad enough to go to the emergency room, or isn't it? Find out now. This is E.R. or Not on The Scope.
All right. Dr. Madsen, today's E.R. or Not is from Shelly in Salt Lake City. She wants to know if somebody's bleeding and it doesn't seem to stop, should you go to the E.R.? Seems kind of obvious.
Dr. Madsen: Yeah.
Interviewer: But maybe what's that threshold of how much blood is a concerning amount of blood?
Dr. Madsen: And I think that varies from person to person. Someone may see just a drop of their own blood, and that is too much blood, but you probably don't need to go to the E.R. for it. I mean, I've had cases sometimes of students who have come in with 10 or 15 of their friends with all sorts of things bandaged around their finger. You take the bandage off and it's really not a whole lot more than a paper-cut. So it's always worth just stepping back in these situations, and trying to take a deep breath and looking to see how bad is this cut really? If the blood is so much that it's just pulsatile, or it's just shooting out with their pulse, that's more concerning. That makes us concerned about an artery that may have been involved.
Dr. Madsen: So good reason to come to the E.R.
Dr. Madsen: But in most situations step back, hold pressure on it. I always tell people hold pressure for at least five minutes
Interviewer: Five minutes is the magic number.
Dr. Madsen: Yep, five minutes is a good kind of rule of thumb to just hold pressure there, and take that bandage, or take off that rag or whatever you're holding there, and look at this cut, see how much of a cut you really have there, and if it's still bleeding. And if it's a deep cut, if you've got tissue coming out of it, or if it's just something where even after that it's just not stopping bleeding, that's a good time to come to the E.R.
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