If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about how to treat a stab wound to the abdomen very often. But if you ever find yourself in that situation, it’s important to know what to do.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help treat a stab wound to the abdomen and improve your chances of survival. So whether you’re faced with a real-life situation or just want to be prepared for the worst, read on for some helpful
Assessing the severity of the wound
When you arrive at the scene, take a quick look at the victim and the wound. If you see any of the following signs, the wound is likely to be severe and you should call for medical help immediately:
- Large amount of blood coming from the wound
- Exposed bones or organs
- Widespread tissue damage
- Victim is in shock
- Victim is unconscious
Applying pressure to the wound
Applying pressure to the wound is one of the most important steps in treating a stab wound to the abdomen. This will help to stop the bleeding and prevent further damage to the area. You will need to apply pressure with your hands, a clean cloth, or a bandage. Apply as much pressure as you can while still being able to breathe. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can then move on to the next steps in treatment.
Cleaning the wound
Clean the wound. Use soap and water or a alcohol-based cleanser to gently clean the wound. Do not put hydrogen peroxide or alcohol in the wound. These can harm tissue.
Treating the wound with antibiotics
Once the victim arrives at the hospital, the first priority is to make sure that they are stable. After that, the doctor will clean and dress the wound. If the victim has undergone surgery, they will be placed on antibiotics to prevent infection.
Closing the wound
If the stab wound is more than ½ inch deep, was done with a dirty object, or bone is visible, it requires immediate medical attention and you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
If the stab wound does not meet any of the above criteria, you can treat it at home by following these steps:
-Wash your hands with soap and water.
-Clean the wound with warm water and soap. Do not scrub the wound.
-Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
-Apply a bandage to the wound. Change the bandage daily or more often if it gets wet or dirty.
Monitoring the wound for infection
Infection is a serious complication of abdominal stab wounds. The average hospital stay for a patient with an infected abdominal stab wound is 17 days, and the mortality rate is approximately 20%. Infection can occur at the time of initial injury or develop days to weeks later. While any abdominal stab wound has the potential to become infected, certain factors increase the risk, such as:
-Penetration of the small or large intestine
-Damage to the liver, spleen, or pancreas
-Prolonged delay in seeking medical treatment
-Poor general health
Symptoms of infection include fever, increasing pain at the wound site, redness and swelling, and pus drainage. If you suspect that your abdominal stab wound is infected, seek medical attention immediately.
If the victim is in pain, have them lie down and rest. Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to help stop the bleeding. If the cloth becomes soaked with blood, do not remove it. Apply more cloths on top of it to keep applying pressure. If the bleeding is constant and severe, and doesn’t seem to be stopping after 10 minutes of applying pressure, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.
When to seek medical help
If you have a stab wound to the abdomen, it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible. Symptoms of a more serious injury may not appear immediately, and internal bleeding can be life-threatening.
If you have a stab wound that is more than a quarter of an inch deep or if the object that caused the wound is still in place, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
If the object has been removed and the wound is only superficial, you may be able to treat it at home. However, it’s still important to keep an eye out for signs of infection or other complications and to see your doctor if they develop.