Did I help or hurt him???? :(

  1. 5
    I am a c.n.a/ starting nursing student and I got my first taste of some critical care tonight. Long story short a young boy got shot on my block and I ran to the scene to help him(couldn't help it, I was the only one). Gunshot wound to the head and everyone was panicked. I turned him to his side to help him breathe,but someone told me not to do it, so I don't know if that was right. I asked some of his friends for some shirts and applied pressure to his head to stop the bleeding. It helped alot and for 15 min i held on to that boy, talking to him telling him to hold on while taking his pulse.I'm just shaking and freaked out right now. I was just hoping to hear that I followed the right procedures and what else could I have done maybe to make it better? I also tried to raise his head up off the ground hoping the blood would flow a bit downwards..... I don't know if I did the right thing. This boys blood was all over my hands and I have no cuts but also wondering what's my risk for exposure . I hope I did the right thing..his pulse was fading when he went into the ambulance. I hope he makes it.
    lovleeme, mznelly, mikeicurn, and 2 others like this.
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  3. 36 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Pressure to the wound was correct. You did what you could. Keeping the injured person still and warm is best in most situations. The best thing to do in an emergency is go with what you know...that's what's best for the injured party.

    Why did it take EMS so long to get there?
    merlee likes this.
  5. 10
    I don't know the exact EMT procedure, but not moving the victim has to do with suspicion of spinal injury. Based on what you saw and your rationale, I think you did the right thing by turning him on his side. And continuing to hold pressure to the wound... I think you did the best thing possible in that situation.

    No matter what, don't beat yourself over it. I experienced a similar situation where a stabbing occurred at my school and the victim happened to be in my classroom. I remember standing at the edge of the huge puddle of blood dazed after the person was taken away, just thinking, "How could I be so stupid? Why couldn't I have been faster? How can I be a nurse when I can't even respond promptly in this situation?" My self-berating thoughts abated only after someone told me, "You didn't come to school expecting this sort of thing. How well you respond to emergencies depends a lot on whether you were prepared for them or not."

    We can be wonderful nurses when we're at our jobs, but it's a lot harder to be all that great when we're thrust into complete emergencies when we were least expecting it. Unless we practice and practice, and procedures become physical memory. That's what I'm working on too, so that I can respond better just in case another emergency happens when I'm not expecting it.

    As to whether you helped or hurt the guy... what do you think the outcome would've been if you weren't there to do what you did? Not everyone steps forward to help risking getting in contact with blood.
    fiveofpeep, CountyRat, brillohead, and 7 others like this.
  6. 7
    By responding and doing what you thought was best could do nothing but help. That you cared enough to talk to this boy with soothing words is such a helpful thing in itself. This child is someone's precious baby boy. I am 100% sure that this boy's mother will be nothing but grateful that her child was not left alone in the street. The rest of it is all do what you can with what you have. And make sure someone is/has called 911 by directing the crowd to call it.
  7. 3
    You helped save a life. You applied pressure which is key in this sort of injury. Your risk is low, but I would still contact your PCP and let them know.
  8. 11
    Thank you all for you responses. It helped comfort me so much. I spoke to a friend and he said to me that thanks to a nurse, the boy is in the hospital in critical condition. He didn't know that person was me. I can't even believe he made it that far as most with his wound don't and even though he's not out of the woods yet, I am absolutely joyous right now. I guess that means I helped him. Thank the lord, the boy has angels on his side.
    MichaelaR27, lovleeme, mznelly, and 8 others like this.
  9. 7
    The truth is that even with 20 years of experience, an ED or ICU nurse could have done little more than you did in this situation. You could do no more than you did, which is more than most other people would do in this situation.

    The reason the EMS tooks so long is that in most states the ambulance is not allowed to start treating a patient unless the police have secured the area (in cases where there is shooting of a potential for more violence). The EMS crews must wait a block or so away from the crime for the police to make sure it is safe for them.
    Elladora, lovleeme, aachavez, and 4 others like this.
  10. 7
    You did great. I would have been petrified to help being that gun shots were involved. Remember your safety comes first. I've stop at accidents before but I made sure the scene was safe first and foremost.

    You are that angel, that boy is lucky that you were able and willing to offer assistance.
    CountyRat, sunnybabe, lovleeme, and 4 others like this.
  11. 4
    Thanks for stepping up! Airway is the most important consideration. This should be done with spinal precautions if possible, but alone, you don't have much choice. Turning him allowed blood to drain out of his airway. Pressure on bleeding is also correct. If you don't have any cuts on your hands your exposure risk is low, but there. Thanks for making a difference!
    CountyRat, lovleeme, merlee, and 1 other like this.
  12. 5
    I am a prehospital provider and scene safety is always always always the first thing. To run to the scene of a GSW is to ask to be shot yourself. A GSW to the head can certainly cause a spinal cord injury so keeping them still, not moving them at all is the best idea.

    I certainly wouldn't beat yourself up about this - just learn from it and move on - good luck in school.


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