100 years ago this month [August 2014] the British involvement in the First World War began. Looking back on the events of the war, as much of the media is currently doing, it can seem strange that many of the first aid techniques used then are still current. Even though 100 year old.
At the offices of Lazarus Training we have collected a wide range of first aid manuals [everyone needs a hobby] which includes a 1911 British Army first aid manual. Some of the resuscitation techniques are easy to laugh at nowadays, but one of the many areas of current interest is the use of tourniquets to stop serious external bleeding from a limb.
The use of tourniquets in prehospital care, or more correctly the teaching of the use, has had an interesting history, coming and going out in and out of fashion. But the current generation of army medics, police officers and ambulance staff would find much of the guidance contained in the 1911 edition of Royal Army Medical Corps Training Manual familiar and close to the procedures that they are currently taught on courses such as our AFO medical programme.
Whilst the type of tourniquets used has changed the principles are the same. The number of tourniquet applications and the life saving effect they have had, means that the 100 year old first aid technique is still saving life and limb. Debates about the use of tourniquets in first aid will no doubt continue, but the wealth of evidence being gathered shows that there is a definite need in dealing with catastrophic bleeding with new tourniquets being launched at torrential rate. The latest developments include the use of tourniquets to stop/control catastrophic bleeding from non-compressible sites ie the upper groin and pelvic area. Many of these new tourniquets look very similar to the screw tourniquet in the picture above, proof that this 100 year old first aid technique is still saving lives.