Gunshot wounds are wounds caused by bullets entering the body. Gunshot wounds are an emergency condition because they can cause serious injury that can lead to permanent disability or death.
Gunshot wounds can occur when the bullet hits the skin or internal organs. The severity of gunshot wounds can vary, depending on the part of the body affected, the distance of the shot, and the type of bullet.
Gunshot wounds can be categorized as stab wounds , as the bullet penetrates the body at high velocity. If in the neck, chest or head, gunshot wounds can be serious and life threatening.
Causes of Gunshot Wounds
Gunshot wounds occur when bullets fired from firearms enter the body. The bullet can get trapped in the body or penetrate various organs or tissues until it leaves the body.
Gunshot wounds can happen to anyone. However, there are several conditions that can increase a person's risk of getting a gunshot wound, namely:
- Caught in a riot
- Involved in criminal acts or terrorism
- Work as police or army
- Stuck or participate in the war
Gunshot Wound Symptoms
Depending on the area of the body affected, gunshot wounds can cause various symptoms. Severe symptoms or even death can occur instantly if the shot hits the head, neck, chest or stomach.
Gunshot wounds can cause serious injuries which are characterized by symptoms such as:
- Pain in the shot
- Bleeding from the anus if the gunshot wound occurred in the abdomen
- Broken bones
- Hard to breathe
- Sudden paralysis
- Fainting or coma
When to see a doctor
All types of gunshot wounds, whether penetrating or not, require immediate medical attention. This includes gunshot wounds to the arms or legs, as they can be disfiguring.
If you see that people around you have gunshot wounds, immediately take them to the emergency room at the nearest hospital to get help and treatment from a doctor .
Gunshot wound diagnosis
Gunshot wound patients need to be treated immediately. The doctor will stop the bleeding first and stabilize the condition. Some of the efforts that doctors can make include:
- Install and give intravenous fluids
- Put on breathing apparatus and oxygen
- Give blood transfusions
- Remove air and blood if a pneumothorax or cardiac tamponade occurs
If the patient's condition is stable, the doctor will conduct a question and answer session regarding the causes of gunshot wounds and complaints experienced by the patient, followed by a physical examination.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a scan with X-rays and a CT scan .
Treatment of Gunshot Wounds
Handling of gunshot victims can be divided into first aid and hospital treatment, as described below:
First aid to gunshot victims
If there is a gunshot wound victim around you, immediately take him to a safe place and give him first aid while waiting for medical personnel to arrive.
The first aid you can give to victims of gunshot wounds is:
- Take the victim to a safe place and immediately call an ambulance.
- If the victim of a gunshot wound is still conscious, make sure he is sitting or lying down comfortably. Do not lift his leg if he has a gunshot wound above the waist, as this will cause the blood to flow more profusely.
- Stop the bleeding by pressing on the injured area with a clean cloth or gauze.
- If the victim has a gunshot wound to the chest, cover the wound with clean plastic to prevent air from entering the chest cavity. However, immediately remove the plastic if the victim experiences shortness of breath.
- Perform CPR techniques on an unconscious gunshot wound victim.
Treatment in hospital
After a gunshot wound patient arrives at the hospital, the doctor will immediately stabilize the patient's condition before performing surgery to stop the bleeding. Some of the actions that doctors can perform in surgery are:
- Suturing torn blood vessels and internal organs
- Removes a stuck bullet
- Repairing broken bone structures
- Install a hose to remove the blood
- Cleaning and closing gunshot wounds
- Give tetanus vaccine and infusion antibiotics
Gunshot Wound Complications
Complications of gunshot wounds depend on the part of the body affected. Some of the complications that can arise are:
- Hypovolemic shock due to severe bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Cardiac tamponade
- Brain damage
- Bleeding in the abdominal cavity ( intra-abdominal hemorrhage ) or bleeding in the chest cavity ( hemothorax )
- Secondary infection in gunshot wounds due to bacterial contamination
- Permanent paralysis
In addition, if you recover from a gunshot wound, the sufferer is still at risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ).
Gunshot Wound Prevention
Gunshot wounds cannot always be prevented, especially those resulting from crime, war or terrorism. However, there are efforts that can be made to reduce the risk of getting a gunshot wound, including:
- Avoid places where riots or conflicts occur
- Providing early understanding to children about the dangers of using firearms