What you should do – and not do – when helping victim of knife attack: Expert


On Wednesday this week [December 12], Kenyans were treated to the shocking news of the death of celebrated 39-year-old actor Jamal Nassul Gadafi after he was allegedly stabbed to death by his 40-year-old girlfriend Grace Kanamu Namulo.

Among many other fatal knife attacks reported in Kenya, Mr Gadafi’s case shook the country due to his prominence.

Other notable knife attacks which resulted in fatalities in Kenya include that of Buruburu resident Farid Mohamed which was inflicted by jailed beauty Ruth Kamande, who was his girlfriend at the time [2015].

Rugby star Mike Okombe, 27, was also fatally stabbed by his lover Maryanne Mumbi Olive, 37, in Nakuru in November 2017 following a wrangle at a night party.

In the wake of increasing cases where partners – unfortunately – attack each other with the deadly knives, it is important for one to know how to perform First Aid on a knife attack victim.

A First Aid expert, Emma Hammett, in her post for medical website The Hippocratic Post, provides a detailed guide on “simple steps” to helping victims of stabbings.

Ms Hammett is an experienced nurse and the founder of First Aid for Life. She says catastrophic bleeding can happen “any time, anywhere.”

She advises members of the public who encounter a victims suffering major bleeding to “always wear gloves.”

She states: “Sit or lie the person down – to manage shock and prevent them from feeling dizzy and faint.

“Examine the area to see if there is anything stuck in the wound – if there is do not remove it.

“Elevate the bleeding area above the level of the heart to slow down the bleeding (although latest guidelines no longer recommend elevation as this alone will not stop bleeding and pressure is more important).

“Pressure – apply direct pressure on the wound to stop the blood coming out.”

Ms Hammett then instructs people to search for the source of the bleeding, adding: “Whether there are any foreign objects embedded in the wound – if so, do not remove them as they will be stemming bleeding, but apply direct pressure either side of the object.

“Apply direct pressure to try and control bleeding – if the bleeding is controlled with this direct pressure, keep holding for 10 minutes as it takes this amount of time for clots to form.”

The first aid expert further details how to recognise symptoms of shock in a victim, which include a rapid pulse, appearing pale and feeling cold and clammy.

She continues: “If the person is pale, cold, clammy and showing signs of shock, or if there is a lot of blood – help their circulation by lying them down and raising their legs.

“Elevate the bleeding wound and apply direct pressure to control the bleeding. Keep them warm and get emergency help.”

Ms Hammett also explains the use of a tourniquet [a device for stopping the flow of blood through a vein or artery, typically by compressing a limb with a cord or tight bandage] in the cases of a catastrophic bleed – and how to improvise without the compressing device.

She adds: “One of the easiest way to make an improvised tourniquet using the contents of a standard First Aid kit is to use a triangular bandage folded into a broad fold bandage and tighten the tourniquet using your scissors as a windlass (if you have access to cutlery, such as a table knife, this would be even better as otherwise you no longer have your scissors available to use!).”

(Additional reporting The Standard UK)

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