4 First Aid Procedures ER Doctors Really Hope You Know

A 911 call is something no one wants to make. But at one point or another, most of us will find ourselves in an emergency. And it's what we do after the call and before help arrives that matters most. It could save a life. Would you be prepared?

Here are the four first-aid procedures emergency room doctors want you to know.

1. How to Stop Bleeding

More than 350,000 people go to the ER each year with an injury from a kitchen knife. And think about all the other things in your home or outside that you could fall on and seriously hurt yourself. So it's critical to know how to respond to a bleeding wound.

Stop the bleeding:

  1. Grab a clean small towel or gauze pad. Get ice too if it's nearby to help the blood clot faster.
  2. Apply direct pressure on the wound for 5 to 10 minutes with the towel or pad (and ice if you have it).
  3. When it stops bleeding or has slowed, wash the cut to help prevent infection.
You must also know when to treat the wound at home or when to visit the ER (because it needs stitches or there's a risk of infection).

Go to the emergency room if:

  • The blood soaks through the towel or gauze pads.
  • The blood does not stop or slow after applying direct pressure.
  • The blood is spurting.

If the victim is suffering a lot of blood loss, applying a tourniquet is critical. That may sound scary, but you're simply tightening the space around the wound to help prevent more blood loss (which can lead to death).

Apply a Tourniquet:

  1. Remove any clothing in the way of the wound.
  2. Grab a towel, band, belt or anything you can tie around the limb.
  3. Wrap the band 2 inches above the wound, and not on a joint.
  4. Pull the tourniquet tight until blood flow stops, and secure the tourniquet.

2. Help Someone Choking

We all know to do the Heimlich maneuver if someone is choking. But do you know how to do it?

Heimlich Maneuver:

  1. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their waist. Lean the person slightly forward.
  2. Make a fist with on hand, and grasp it with your other hand.
  3. Place your fist slightly above their navel. Make a quick, upward thrusting motion with your fist.
  4. Do six to 10 thrusts until the blockage is dislodged from their throat.

If you're smaller than the person choking:

  • Straddle the person's waist.
  • Use the same motions as if you were standing.
If you are the person choking and there's no one around to help:
  1. Make a fist and grasp it with your other hand.
  2. Place the thumb side above the navel.
  3. Pushing in and up until the object is dislodged.

3. Respond to an Allergic Reaction

When someone has a serious allergic reaction, they go into what's called anaphylaxis. That's essentially when your immune system releases chemicals that cause you to go into shock. Your airways narrow and block off breathing. It may be accompanied by a rapid pulse and nausea.

First, ask:

Ask if they have an Epinephrine pen. They may not be able to talk, but could point to where it is. You can also take a look through the person's bag or jacket to see if they carry one.

Use the Epi pen:

  1. Remove the blue safety cap. Pull straight up. Do not twist.
  2. Place the orange tip in the middle of the outer thigh. Take a small swing with your hand/arm and press the pen firmly back into the thigh. You should hear a click. That means that injection has started. If you do not hear a click, do it again with slightly more pressure.
  3. Hold for 3 seconds.
  4. Remove the pen and massage the area for 10 seconds.

4. Revive a Stopped Heart

It's important to know when a person is having a heart attack and when the person has experienced cardiac arrest and their heart has stopped.

Determine what has happened:

  • Check if the person is responsive. If they are, they may have had a heart attack.
  • If they are not responsive, check for breathing and a pulse.
  • If there is none, they may have experienced cardiac arrest.
There are two ways to respond to cardiac arrest. Because they have stopped breathing and their heart has stopped, the chance of survival goes down as every minute passes. It is critical to get blood flowing again and get oxygen to their brain — to preserve their health and their life.
Did you know Dr. Oz helped save a man who experienced cardiac arrest at the airport? Watch the videos below to see Dr. Oz reunite with him!

How to Tie a Tourniquet Yourself

Know how to stop a severe bleeding wound.


You never know when basic first aid knowledge could mean the difference between life and death, and tying a tourniquet is one skill you should know.

A tourniquet is a band that is tightened around an extremity to stop blood flow to a wound. It is used to control rapid bleeding after an injury to a limb. When used properly, tourniquets cause a significant decrease in blood flow — which can save a person's life. But because of this, improper use can cause permanent nerve and tissue damage.

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