The Writer They Call Tay (awanderingbard) wrote in little_details,
The Writer They Call Tay

Severed finger and first aid

Setting: Chicago (modern day)
Googled: "first aid for a severed finger" and many, many variations on that.

The question is rather long, so I'm putting it under the cut, but the basic gist of it is what would you do in terms of first aid/care of a severed finger if you could not be taken to a hospital?

1) I have a young man (probably mid-twenties) who has been fighting a battle in a Chicago warehouse and has had a couple of his fingers severed during the battle. He cannot be taken to a hospital, but there is a doctor present in the aftermath. The supplies the doctor has are a basic first aid kit, plus a kit containing extras like a basic scalpel, local anesthetic, sutures, and probably some intravenous painkillers like Morphine or Demoral.

The doctor himself is about 40-years-old (so is somewhat experienced in the general field of medicine) and once wanted to be a surgeon, but found he didn't have the hand-eye coordination for it. He now does diagnostics (a bit like House of House MD, the guy you call when you're not quite sure what's going on). I haven't decided on his specialties yet. He's not a trauma guy, he's been called in to the battle scene as a favour.

So, my question is: what would he do in this situation? He needs to stop the bleeding as his main priority. The severed part of the fingers cannot be recovered, so there's no concern about keeping them to be reattached. They were bitten off, so the wound is probably ragged. The Google answers I got mostly dealt without how to preserve the severed fingers and not with how to treat the stumps. I also got too technical answers on how precisely to amputate a finger. I don't need anything too detailed, just what he might do in this situation. It's from the doctor's point of view, so it would be great to have a few medical terms for him to be thinking in.

It would also be great to know what sort of state the patient would be in. Would he be in shock or excrutiating pain? It is possible for him to remain calm? Would he be groggy or could he be alert?

Thanks so much for your help!

ETA Thanks for the answers, everyone! This is perfect stuff. Sum-up of the answers for anyone who may come wandering through with a similar problem:

- patient would be in shock
- probably not a lot of pain (the shock and adrenaline would numb it)
- depending on how the finger is severed, there may not be a lot of blood (torn vessels bleed less than sliced ones)
- apply tourniquet to help stop the bleeding, then sew up the wound
- treat patient for shock, by elevating the wound and keeping him warm and calm
Tags: ~medicine: injuries (misc)

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