Surfing Doctor Discovers a Simple Shark Bite Treatment
How can you assist someone who has had their leg bitten off by a shark? An Australian medic-surfer discovered a simple approach to control bleeding and save lives in groundbreaking research.
Make a fist at the midpoint between the hip and the genitals and push as hard as you can. Shark attacks are uncommon in the United States, but they are on the rise in Australia, owing in part to an increase in the number of humans in the water.
So Nicholas Taylor, a surfer and the head of the medical school at the Australian National University, set out to figure out how to limit fatalities in the case of an attack.
Despite getting it back to shore, many fatal shark bites occur around the legs, leaving the victim to bleed to death.
Taylor discovered that compressing the femoral artery with a simple approach was far more successful than using tourniquets in a research published in Emergency Medicine Australasia.
According to his research, making a fist and pressing down on an artery halted roughly 89.7% of blood flow, compared to 43.8 percent when using a surfboard leash as a makeshift tourniquet.
The technique performed equally well whether the patient was wearing a wetsuit or not.
Medic-surfer said in a statement, “I knew from my background in emergency medicine if people have massive bleeding from their leg, you can push very hard on the femoral artery and you can pretty much cut the entire blood flow of the leg that way.”
“It is easy to do and easy to remember — push hard between the hip and the bits and you could save a life.”
Taylor believes that the approach will spread among Australia’s roughly half-million surfers, who are less likely to meet sharks.
“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,” he added.
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