Your medical kit - its a mess!

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Van-Wild

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Feb 17, 2018
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I'm always one for constantly reviewing and repacking my kit.....

One of the things that we all carry is a medical kit. The contents of your med kit is generally based on your knowledge of treating injuries, confidence is the use of your med kit, stowage, cost, ease of use..... the list goes on.

A lot of med kits are commercially brought items with generic contents, all packed very nicely, with labelling and nice sterile wrappers, the pouch it comes in is normally bright red (which, incidentally is a very good idea).

We did a little lesson in the house this evening with old medical kits, the scenario being daddy had cut his leg really badly and fell over in the kitchen......

I coached the eldest through it and she did well. The resulting mess was this....

ac3a60bf009c9e0675b89cbd4ea10510.jpg


Afterwards, the main learning point for me was the dangerously long amount of time it took to open the med bag, then open a sealed dressing, then getting through another internal sterile wrapping, which led to panic and frustration in my daughter, which impacted on her ability to think clearly and act appropriately.......

So I got to thinking and researching. I looked at the in-house and vehicle med kits with a more critical eye. I took them all apart, taking everything out of the commercial wrappers and repacking each med kit in its own clear vacuum sealed pouch. So now they look like this....

a0cddaa769f03e7e4da1cb0fbfb59dd9.jpg


fdb68a2e405e122a09c326eecd1367c2.jpg


The bag is clear. You can see everything in it. Its vacuum sealed so its compact, waterproof and sealed off from the environment. If you need it, you tear it open and voilà, its all there for immediate use. No mess, no fuss, no having to waste valuable life saving time ripping your trauma bandage out of three layers before you can put it on your loved one/best friend and save their life......

*disclaimer for the Internet*

My med kits are designed to deal with catastrophic bleeds, with the possibility of multiple casualties, by a person with a good degree of training, not for the removal of a thorn in your finger or sort out a headache....

I know that some will say that all that wrapping is to keep each item sterile and prevent infection, but ask yourself this: if you're trapped in your car with a femoral bleed and I rock up with this kind of med kit, rip it open and start applying pressure to your bleed, do you even care about my med kit being 'sterile' or do you care about not dying......(infection control will come later my friend, don't worry).

I am not a medical professional. This is my idea and I thought I would share it. What you do with what you read is your responsibility.

Peace.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,646
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Exeter
I'm always one for constantly reviewing and repacking my kit.....

One of the things that we all carry is a medical kit. The contents of your med kit is generally based on your knowledge of treating injuries, confidence is the use of your med kit, stowage, cost, ease of use..... the list goes on.

A lot of med kits are commercially brought items with generic contents, all packed very nicely, with labelling and nice sterile wrappers, the pouch it comes in is normally bright red (which, incidentally is a very good idea).

We did a little lesson in the house this evening with old medical kits, the scenario being daddy had cut his leg really badly and fell over in the kitchen......

I coached the eldest through it and she did well. The resulting mess was this....

ac3a60bf009c9e0675b89cbd4ea10510.jpg


Afterwards, the main learning point for me was the dangerously long amount of time it took to open the med bag, then open a sealed dressing, then getting through another internal sterile wrapping, which led to panic and frustration in my daughter, which impacted on her ability to think clearly and act appropriately.......

So I got to thinking and researching. I looked at the in-house and vehicle med kits with a more critical eye. I took them all apart, taking everything out of the commercial wrappers and repacking each med kit in its own clear vacuum sealed pouch. So now they look like this....

a0cddaa769f03e7e4da1cb0fbfb59dd9.jpg


fdb68a2e405e122a09c326eecd1367c2.jpg


The bag is clear. You can see everything in it. Its vacuum sealed so its compact, waterproof and sealed off from the environment. If you need it, you tear it open and voilà, its all there for immediate use. No mess, no fuss, no having to waste valuable life saving time ripping your trauma bandage out of three layers before you can put it on your loved one/best friend and save their life......

*disclaimer for the Internet*

My med kits are designed to deal with catastrophic bleeds, with the possibility of multiple casualties, by a person with a good degree of training, not for the removal of a thorn in your finger or sort out a headache....

I know that some will say that all that wrapping is to keep each item sterile and prevent infection, but ask yourself this: if you're trapped in your car with a femoral bleed and I rock up with this kind of med kit, rip it open and start applying pressure to your bleed, do you even care about my med kit being 'sterile' or do you care about not dying......(infection control will come later my friend, don't worry).

I am not a medical professional. This is my idea and I thought I would share it. What you do with what you read is your responsibility.

Peace.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

Thanks for posting.
 

MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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I have Never found unwrapping med kit an issue ever, but if it works for you then that’s fine

Couple of things I do is keep unwrapped though is my BVM in my airway bag, and a couple of triangular bandages in my main kit, and a couple of pairs of gloves in a quick access elastic loop thing.
 
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Toddy

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I keep small things easily to hand. No point having to open up 'the kit' when I'm just needing an elastoplast or a sterile wipe.
Handy too to have something like that to clean your own hands before you start. Mine are usually pretty mucky if I'm out and about.

I like the idea of being able to see what I'm looking for quickly and tidily though. Sometimes it's hard to get enough dry ground to pull out what's necessary and keep it clean and tidy. I keep sheets of thin plastic (cut up swing bin liners are ample sized) for that.
 
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MrEd

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I keep small things easily to hand. No point having to open up 'the kit' when I'm just needing an elastoplast or a sterile wipe.
Handy too to have something like that to clean your own hands before you start. Mine are usually pretty mucky if I'm out and about.

I like the idea of being able to see what I'm looking for quickly and tidily though. Sometimes it's hard to get enough dry ground to pull out what's necessary and keep it clean and tidy. I keep sheets of thin plastic (cut up swing bin liners are ample sized) for that.

thats a pretty good idea. Might pinch that.
If the casualty is laying down their chest makes a good shelf :D
 
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FerlasDave

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Jun 18, 2008
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I keep small things easily to hand. No point having to open up 'the kit' when I'm just needing an elastoplast or a sterile wipe.
Handy too to have something like that to clean your own hands before you start. Mine are usually pretty mucky if I'm out and about.

I’m actually a big advocate for having a single kit with everything in it. I think it gives the opportunity to stop, take a minuet and give everyone involved a chance to take everything in. Even if it is just for treating with a wipe down and some plasters, if there is any secondary survey done then the kit is out already. :)
 
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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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My working life was busy, filthy and full on. Little time to stop and sit down and clean up even before eating.

Even yet, one kit to rule them all just does not work for me.

I keep a 'main' kit in the car boot and a small 'at hand' one in the dash.
At a settled camp the big kit is in my tent, but there's a small pouch one in my bag. The tent's never so far away that we can't get to it to deal if necessary, there's always something to hand that will do should there be a major incident. Decent first aid courses are worth the time to do :)

Walking there's a small one, no way am I up for carrying the big kit.

Each to their own.

M
 
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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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My working life was busy, filthy and full on. Little time to stop and sit down and clean up even before eating.

Even yet, one kit to rule them all just does not work for me.

I keep a 'main' kit in the car boot and a small 'at hand' one in the dash.
At a settled camp the big kit is in my tent, but there's a small pouch one in my bag. The tent's never so far away that we can't get to it to deal if necessary, there's always something to hand that will do should there be a major incident. Decent first aid courses are worth the time to do :)

Walking there's a small one, no way am I up for carrying the big kit.

Each to their own.

M

yeah same system as me, i have a larger kit in my boot or at a fixed camp, and a smaller ‘cuts Kit’ in my bag.

my larger kit although still only relatively basic is still the size of a shoebox
 
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FerlasDave

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I used to have an “ouch pouch” for small injuries but the contents seemed to outgrow the size and therefore nulled the point of the bag. If I work with groups I’ll often give it to them to carry, otherwise it’s in the top of my rucksack or dry bag if we’re doing something different.
It’s the same kit I used when I did mountain rescue, which is where my philosophy on this stuff really grew.
I tend to find most issues are medical rather than trauma so getting people to carry their own meds (and use them!!) is often the most overlooked part of any FAK.
 
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Buckshot

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Jan 19, 2004
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Interesting idea Van Wild
I like the see through plastic.
When i was doing my catastrophic bleed training for the CFR responder they recommend carrying the tourniquet on the outside of the medic bag, unwrapped and ready to use. The criteria they stated is the tourniquet should be applied within 15 seconds of arrival at the scene.
You will notice most police/ ambulance/ fire crews etc (particuarly in USA), if they carry one, will carry a tourniquet with easy access. Many carry as part of their duty belt kit, some around an ankle if they have no room on the belt etc. The point is they can deploy and stop the bleed quickly without having to unwrap it from plastic. After all it doesn't need to be sterile before use.

I have several medic bags like many people depending on the situation (larger base bag, light travel bag etc), all my TQ's are on the outside of the bag, generally in a little pouch. This is one of the larger bags.
2020-07-18_05-21-39 by Mark Aspell, on Flickr

Cheers

Mark
 
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Van-Wild

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Feb 17, 2018
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Interesting idea Van Wild
I like the see through plastic.
When i was doing my catastrophic bleed training for the CFR responder they recommend carrying the tourniquet on the outside of the medic bag, unwrapped and ready to use. The criteria they stated is the tourniquet should be applied within 15 seconds of arrival at the scene.
You will notice most police/ ambulance/ fire crews etc (particuarly in USA), if they carry one, will carry a tourniquet with easy access. Many carry as part of their duty belt kit, some around an ankle if they have no room on the belt etc. The point is they can deploy and stop the bleed quickly without having to unwrap it from plastic. After all it doesn't need to be sterile before use.

I have several medic bags like many people depending on the situation (larger base bag, light travel bag etc), all my TQ's are on the outside of the bag, generally in a little pouch. This is one of the larger bags.
2020-07-18_05-21-39 by Mark Aspell, on Flickr

Cheers

Mark
Hey good point about the tourniquet. The orange one you see is my second tourniquet, with my primary tourniquet being in my personal bleed kit, which is always on my hip. My primary tourniquet is as you say, unwrapped and ready to use immediately. It's good practice.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
1,901
790
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
Interesting idea Van Wild
I like the see through plastic.
When i was doing my catastrophic bleed training for the CFR responder they recommend carrying the tourniquet on the outside of the medic bag, unwrapped and ready to use. The criteria they stated is the tourniquet should be applied within 15 seconds of arrival at the scene.
You will notice most police/ ambulance/ fire crews etc (particuarly in USA), if they carry one, will carry a tourniquet with easy access. Many carry as part of their duty belt kit, some around an ankle if they have no room on the belt etc. The point is they can deploy and stop the bleed quickly without having to unwrap it from plastic. After all it doesn't need to be sterile before use.

I have several medic bags like many people depending on the situation (larger base bag, light travel bag etc), all my TQ's are on the outside of the bag, generally in a little pouch. This is one of the larger bags.
2020-07-18_05-21-39 by Mark Aspell, on Flickr

Cheers

Mark

yeah good idea, I favour the orange tourniquets aswell, as it’s immediately obvious to some one later on that the tourniquet is on
 
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MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Yep, also the classic war first aid trick of writing a T on the forehead also helps - anything to help identify it's been applied.
Also don't forget to write the time of application on it too.

Time of application is of vital importance, and must not be forgotten, it’s what allows the calculation of when to have periodic releases to maintain distal circulation and and help prevent tissue toxin build up - like crush syndrome.
Tourniquets can do huge avoidable damage if not used correctly.

EDIT to clarify - I mean removal ‘once in a place of definitive care’, not before

I keep a sharpie on all my kits, as it writes on skin and dressings quite well.
 
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Buckshot

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Jan 19, 2004
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Time of application is of vital importance, and must not be forgotten, it’s what allows the calculation of when to have periodic releases to maintain distal circulation and and help prevent tissue toxin build up - like crush syndrome.
Tourniquets can do huge avoidable damage if not used correctly.

I keep a sharpie on all my kits, as it writes on skin and dressings quite well.
Is the release of a TQ prior to hospitalisation still approved?
I thought current practice is to leave it on until the patient is in hospital. I assume because the risk of releasing toxins into the body and also lowering blood volume with no method of countering in the field is not recommended?
 

MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
Is the release of a TQ prior to hospitalisation still approved?
I thought current practice is to leave it on until the patient is in hospital. I assume because the risk of releasing toxins into the body and also lowering blood volume with no method of countering in the field is not recommended?

sorry, yes, I should clarify a bit - there can be knock on effects of releasing pre-hospital that can be hard to mitigate with the more finite or limited resources of pre-hospital care - drops in blood pressure, loss of volume through further bleeding etcetera

My meaning about the time being important was more so that the follow on carers (at the hospital, or the heli-meds etc) know how long it’s been on for so can plan accordingly - and then it’s also important as the patient can end up passing through multiple hands and times and things can get stretched or distorted inadvertently. 1415hrs can stretch to ‘about 1430’ or ‘I think about 3pm’ if you see what I mean?

I have never put a tourniquet on pre-hospital, but have put them on in hospital (when I used to work in plastics reconstruction and it wasn’t unknown for free flap reconstructions to just let go, and even then it was very rare).

there has been lots of articles to and fro discussing use in civilian trauma (pros and cons) for years, and I don’t actually genuinely expect to need to use one pre-hospital, as the current guidelines still advocate direct pressure in a civilian setting as first line.
Tourniquets or haemostatic agents are for if bleeding cannot be controlled by direct pressure
 
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