How to Maximize the Brief Window of Opportunity After an Injury

7 Nov

The immediate aftermath of a life-threatening injury leaves a brief and critical window of opportunity.

It may be you or someone else who is shot, stabbed or injured by a blunt object. Image

There may be substantial bleeding, broken bones and other physical damage.

Often the injured person won’t feel any pain for a few minutes afterwards as a result of being so shocked. Take full advantage of this time to assess injuries and stabilize them if necessary because once the adrenaline wears off, they will begin to feel it.

One important note — if at all possible take a quick look at the wound(s) and make a mental note of what it looks like and the damage done. Then proceed with the stabilization. This will be very helpful for the soon-to-arrive medical personnel.

They may not want to undo the gauze or t-shirt you’ve pressed over the wound and if you can tell them roughly what it looks like, you will help them make the best choice when it comes to stabilization and transport of the patient.

They can also call ahead to the ER and let them know what to expect when the injured party arrives. All of this is simple information that can make a huge difference in correct and effective care.

Keeping one’s head through an injury is incredibly important. Your mental state can literally determine whether you live or die if you happen to be the injured party. Rehearse over and over in your head what you will think and do if you are injured. What will you say? Who will you call? Who and what will you think of and do to remain conscious and effective?

Author Alan Rose highlights the importance of the mental aspect of survival in his article “Wounded: First Aid to Survive a Lethal Force Assault” on

“Case in point: A woman heard a negligently fired shotgun blast behind her and passed out; then she stopped breathing. Her pulse rate began to slow. She was dying. The medics could not find any wounds, and neither could the emergency room staff. Finally the doctor began yelling in her ear that she was not injured and would not die. Within a few minutes she awoke, and was discharged home in perfect health. (Read more about proper conduct in a shooting incident here)

These skills and preparations aren’t just for criminal shooting incidents. They are just as applicable to any life-threatening emergencies we might encounter, such as car crashes or hunting accidents.

We won’t always have the advantage of being injured in a major metropolitan area with a world-class ER just minutes away. A hunting accident could disable and kill us hundreds of miles from help. These effect, self-reliant coping skills can become useful at any point in our lives.

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