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Improvised first aid techniques for terrorist attacks
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  • Published on:
    Ill Advised Use of Tampons for Gunshot Wounds
    • Andrew David Fisher, Medical Student Texas A&M College of Medicine
    • Other Contributors:
      • Faroukh Mehkri, Resident-Physician Department of Emergency Medicine

    We applaud the authors for their effort to educate the bystander and even medical professionals with a means to provide care for the injured in terrorist attacks. While the majority of the information provided is based in historical evidence, in today’s era of superior wound packing materials the use of tampons for gunshot wounds (GSWs) is an inferior and dangerous suggestion.

    Tampons have been around for many thousands of years for vaginal bleeding, but nothing has been documented for their use in GSWs.[1] Stories of tampon use have been around since the Vietnam era. There have even been anecdotes posted on Snopes.com from the war in Iraq.[2] The story is full of unsubstantiated information, yet it is a common reference for many.

    One can find in the fringe of the Internet, other claims of tampon effectiveness. Bioprepper claims tampons are “designed to be ultra-absorbent” and “can be used to plug a bullet hole until…accounts of this use date back to World War I.”[3] They go on to say, “Many items in modern society were first developed as a facet of military research – tampons being a prime example.” This is absolutely false. Not only that the article itself never demonstrates a tampon being used to stop life threatening hemorrhage – rather it illustrates a plethora of Boy Scout novelties of the tampon.

    Elsewhere, there are anecdotes of tampons being used during World War I and II, but nothing specifically written from the era. Still, there is no def...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.