Researchers at the Australian National University have devised a new first-aid technique to help reduce blood loss in shark attack victims. It’s incredibly simple. Anyone can do it, and by paying attention, you might just save a life.
Dr Nicholas Taylor, surfer, emergency physician and Associate Dean of the ANU Medical School, said the method is reliable for reducing blood loss through lower limb haemorrhages and relies on immediately available resources. The process sees a bystander make a fist and use their bodyweight to “push hard between the hips and the bits.” Or, apply immense pressure at the top of the injured leg at the midpoint between the hip and genitals.
Source: ABC News
“In shark attacks, most people don’t actually get bitten twice, and they can make it back to the shore,” Dr Taylor said. “I thought if you make it to the beach with a friend and they’re bleeding from the leg, what would be the best thing you could do?”
The point between the hips and genitals is referred to as the mid inguinal point. By applying pressure to this point, you are compressing the femoral artery and significantly reducing blood flow to the bleeding limb.
Dr Taylor took what he learned from a background in emergency medicine and applied it to the injuries of shark attack victims, and studies show an impressive success rate.
This new technique was published in Emergency Medicine Australasia. The study showed that the simple first-aid method stopped 100 per cent of blood flow in 75 per cent of participants.
“Most people could completely stop all blood flow,” Dr Taylor said. “This new method saves time and works better than using a leg rope or looking for something else to use as a tourniquet.”
The study made comparisons with and without wetsuits and found no significant difference between the two. So Dr Taylor now hopes this new method can be used on beaches in Australia and across the globe.
“I want posters at beaches. I want to get it out in the surf community. I want people to know that if someone gets bitten, you can pull out the patient, push as hard as you can in this midpoint spot, and it can stop almost all of the blood flow,” Dr Taylor said. “It is easy to do and easy to remember – push hard between the hip and the bits, and you could save a life.”