b. Shortness of breath. If the casualty has a chest
injury or has breathing difficulties, place the patient in a
sitting or semi-sitting position.
c. Shock. If the casualty is in shock, place the
patient on the back, with the head slightly lower than the
feet. If the injuries permit, the casualtys feet should be
raised and supported 6 to 12 inches above the head.
2. Move the casualty only when absolutely
necessary. You may have to remove some clothing to
determine the extent of the injuries. Remove enough
clothing to get a clear idea of the extent of the injury. If
you remove clothing incorrectly, you may do great
harm, especially in fracture injuries. You may have to
rip or cut clothing along the seams. When clothing is
removed, ensure that the casualty does hot become
chilled. Shoes may have to be cut off to avoid causing
pain or increasing an injury.
3. Reassure the casualty and keep the patient as
comfortable as possible.
4. Do not touch open wounds or burns with the
fingers or other objects except when sterile compresses
or bandages are not available and it is absolutely
necessary to stop severe bleeding.
5. Do not try to give an unconscious person any
solid food or liquid substance by mouth.
6. If a bone is broken, or if you suspect that one is
broken, do not move the casualty until you have
immobilized the injured part. When transporting a
casualty, always make sure that the litter is carried feet
forward no matter what the injuries are. This enables the
rear litter bearer to observe the casualty for any
respiratory obstruction or stoppage of breathing.
7. Keep the casualty comfortable and warm
enough to maintain normal body temperature.
If the casualty is conscious and coherent, the
primary assessment can be expedited by asking about
the nature of the injuries and the conditions involved.
You must rely on an unconscious casualtys signs (e.g.,
profuse hemorrhage, cyanotic skin, choking, etc.) and
Triage is the sorting of and allocation of treatment
to patients, especially battle and disaster victims,
based on a system of priorities designed to maximize
the number of survivors.
Triage is normally the responsibility of the
medical officer, dental officer, or Hospital Corpsman.
But if they are not available, you will have to triage the
casualties. Sorting decisions may be made at every
stage in the movement of the wounded. Your goal in
making these decisions is to do the most good for the
largest number of casualties, given limited time,
supplies, and personnel.
Casualties are grouped according to the serious-
ness of their injuries. The groups are as follows:
Those whose injuries are so slight they
can be managed by self-help or buddy
care. These casualties can be returned
promptly to their units for full duty.
Those whose wounds require medical
care but are so slight that they can be
managed at the battalion aid station.
These casualties can be returned to duty
after a brief period.
Those whose injuries demand surgical
attention immediately, after
resuscitation, or as soon as practical.
Those hopelessly wounded or dead on
The treatment order of the groups depends on
whether it is a combat or noncombat situation.
Combat. This occurs when you are up against
hostile, life-threatening situations (e.g., war, bombings,
terrorist dealings, etc.). In the combat situation, you will
triage the casualties in the group order of 1, 2, 3, and 4.
This is done because Group 1 casualties must return to
full duty as soon as possible to help fight the enemy,
followed by Groups 2 and 3 when they are available.
Because Group 4 casualties are hopelessly wounded or
dead, they will be last.
Noncombat. This occurs when a disaster strikes
(e.g., plane crash, automobile accident, earthquake,
flood, etc.). In these situations, the least injured
casualties (Groups 1 and 2) can care for themselves
while you take care of the wounded in Group 4. In a
noncombat situation there is usually no further
life-threatening action, so you will have time to treat a
Group 4 casualty who has a chance of survival. After
you are done with Group 4, go back and treat Group 3,
Group 2, and then Group 1.