Navy SEAL Medical Training (Part 1)

When tragedy befalls, it always comes down like a hammer. The human body is an incredibly resilient machine that can withstand the unthinkable.

On the other hand, we are not indestructible and our bodies can be unpredictably fragile, such that life can be lost within moments.

Almost as a guarantee, there will be injuries when unexpected life-threatening situations occur.

You may survive an initial assault/attack, for example, but if you lack the knowledge of how stop a wound from bleeding, or what to do if bitten by a snake — you’re done.

One of the very best pieces of advice I can give regarding survival is – “GO AND GET SOME MEDICAL TRAINING” because when bad things happen, people get hurt.

During actual emergencies, you’ll have no time to flip through a book and learn that being ill-prepared, regardless of your other strengths or abilities, could be your death knell.

Believe me; you do not want to stand by helplessly if someone you care for is in dire need of immediate care.

If these unfortunate situations were to occur and you were unable to help, it would haunt you and leave a mark for a long time.

At a minimum, you should attend a basic First Aid class and get your CPR certification. Several years ago, when I was considering becoming a firefighter in Los Angeles, I trained and became a nationally registered EMT.

I knew how important these skills were as a SEAL. Even though I decided to go a different route, the invaluable knowledge I learned as an EMT enabled me on several occasions to save lives.

Surviving lethal situations will often depend on whether or not you have some understanding of how to apply basic medical emergency techniques. The information I provide here is designed for educational use only and is not a substitute for specific training or experience.

In life or death situations you must do everything you can to survive. I believe strongly that we as humans have an obligation to provide aid or a “Duty to Act.”

I recently came upon the scene of a pedestrian that had been struck by a car. As I approached the lifeless bleeding body, I was amazed that the group of people were just standing there and staring. Learning medical techniques makes you a leader and lifesaver in such situations.

Every SEAL platoon has two highly trained medical personnel called Corpsman. When I say highly trained I mean able to perform life saving surgical procedures while avoiding bullets and explosions all around them. It’s been proven that getting everyone out alive often comes down to how quickly life-saving techniques are performed at the onset of an injury and these guys are the best!

What are you waiting for—Step up and help!

“Good Samaritan” Law was established 1959 to protect you from liability if, in good faith, you attempt to render emergency care at the scene of an emergency.

Understand, that if you are not properly trained or certified to conduct certain medical procedures or are operating beyond your level of training or “scope of practice,” you may have to deal with legal repercussions. I am only bringing this up to further stress the importance of receiving medical training. That said, each situation will be different and you will decide what you can or will do, depending on the survival scenario encountered.

Casualty Assessment

As a general rule, you don’t want to move an injured person for fear they may have a spinal injury. However, if not moving them from a hazardous area means further injury or death then get them out of there.

If you arrive at a scene where someone else is injured, the first and most important thing to do is what’s called a “scene size-up.” Similar to a threat assessment, a “scene size-up” requires utilization of all your senses and an alert mind. You must quickly identify possible hazards and decide whether it is safe to enter or stay at this location. The last thing you want to do is to rush in to help, only to become one of the injured because of falling debris, explosion, toxic fumes, or violence, for example. Maintain your Situational Awareness because things can change quickly. Continually assess the scene for unusual characteristics such as sounds, smells, or things that look odd.

A very relevant and disturbing example of “scene size-up” is the tactic that the “animals” (insurgents) in Iraq liked to use. This particular brand of despicable individuals would explode an IED or car bomb at a scene. They would then wait for military medics or first responders and ambulances to arrive to give aid to the injured. Ignoring all humane laws established since the Geneva Convention, and regardless if the medics wore the international insignias designating that they were there only to practice medicine, these insurgents would then detonate another bomb, often times a larger explosive device, killing those that were trying to help. Like I said – “animals.”

Too many hurt, not enough help

You may find yourself at a mass casualty scene where there are several injured people and you are the only one that can help. How do you decide who to help first?
Triage is a system used for sorting patients to determine the order in which they will receive care. This will require you to make some tough decisions but it will also allow you to provide care for and save the ones that you can.


Priority 1: The injured who can be helped by immediate care (major bleeding).
Priority 2: The injured whose care can be delayed (minor bleeding).
Priority 3: Those with minor injuries, who need help less urgently (fracture).
Priority 4: The expectant who are beyond help (deceased or fatal injury).

I confronted several situations, as a Platoon Commander that required difficult decisions and generally — the greatest good for the greatest number — was the correct decision.

Get into Action

If you were injured or involved in the incident, you must evaluate your own condition and treat it before you attempt to help others. In SEAL Team, the phrase we used was “Self Aid then Buddy Aid.” This means that if we are in a firefight, for instance, and I got wounded, it was expected that I attend and work on my own injuries. Everybody else had their hands full with the fight. I didn’t want them, or expect anyone, to focus on my injuries.

Once you have decided the area is relatively safe, you may begin the Initial Assessment on your patient, which is a set of procedures used to discover and treat the individuals most immediate and life-threatening conditions. The steps of the initial assessment allow a systematic approach and help to make decisions about priorities and types of care that each of the injured needs. The most life-threatening condition is identified and that person must be treated immediately, before moving on to the next portion of the initial assessment. For example, you must restore a persons breathing before you attend to their broken leg.
If you have surgical gloves (which should be in your Go Bag and in your vehicle) put them on at this time.

Your immediate priorities for treating the injured are:

  1. Restore breathing and heartbeat if absent.
  2. Stop any bleeding.
  3. Protect wounds and stabilize fractures or dislocations.
  4. Treat for shock.

When approaching an injured person, call out to them to see if you get a response. This will give you several indications as to their current condition. For example, if a person can answer and talk, you know immediately that he is breathing and conscious. If the victim is unresponsive or unconscious, then begin your ABC’s.

1. Restore Breathing and Heartbeat

ABC is the acronym you must remember for survival medicine. This is a method of emergency first-aid used to check that the Airway is open, the person is Breathing, and that there is a pulse or other signs of Circulation.

A: Airway

If a victim is facedown, you must carefully roll him over. Place one hand on the back of the victim’s neck and the other on the hip, and gently roll the victim over onto the back. If you suspect a back or neck injury then try to get others to help. Keep the injured’s head, neck, and back in the best possible alignment as you roll the person until face-up. To open the injured’s airway you must use a head-tilt (even if you suspect back or neck injury).

1. Kneel beside the victim and place one of your hands on his forehead, while you gently tilt the victim’s head back.

2. Place the fingers of your other hand on the cusp or bony part of chin and not on the throat.

3. Carefully lift chin straight up. Try to do so without closing the person’s mouth.
Then check to make sure there is nothing obstructing the throat or interfering with breathing. The tongue may have curled up at the back of the throat. Using what’s called a finger sweep, clear the mouth of all obstructions and move the tongue, out of the airway if needed.

B: Breathing

Check to see if the airway is open and listen for any indication of breathing. Put your ear next to the victim’s mouth or press your cheek against their lips for 5 to 10 seconds. Also, see if the chest is rising and falling.

C: Circulation

Then monitor signs of circulation, which could be indicated by any movement, groaning, or coughing. Place your index and middle fingers in the groove of the windpipe just beneath the angle of the jaw. You can also check if there is a pulse by placing two fingers on inside of the wrist at about one inch above the thumb side.

If you do not detect breathing, yet see signs of circulation, then administer Rescue Breathing. If victim is not breathing and has no signs of circulation, perform CPR.

Rescue Breathing

If an adult stops breathing but still has signs of circulation, call for EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and then begin Rescue Breathing. If a child or infant stops breathing but has signs of circulation, perform Rescue Breathing for 2 minutes before calling for EMS. Then resume Rescue Breathing.

How to do it:

1. Pinch victim’s nose closed with your fingers, and put your mouth over their mouth.

2. Exhale two full, slow breaths, each for 1 to 1.5 seconds.

3. Then withdraw and wait for the victim’s lungs to deflate.

4. If you don’t hear air exhaling, then reposition the person’s head and try the procedure again.

5. Check for any signs of breathing and circulation, and then continue the method, waiting about 10 seconds before each attempt.

Rescue Breathing on an Infant.

1. Place your mouth over both the infant’s nose and mouth.

2. Blow in 2 gentle puffs.

3. If you find no exchange of air, reposition infant’s head and retry.

4. Observe and listen or feel to see if there is breathing and circulation.

If person is unconscious, yet there are signs of circulation but still no breathing, then proceed by administering 1 breath every 5 seconds for adults and 1 puff every 3 seconds for infant.

CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation)
*** CPR techniques have been updated several times in the last decade which again is why I highly advise that you take a First Aid/CPR course to be updated on the most recent technique. ***

Upon arrival, if you find an adult not breathing and there are no signs of circulation, call for EMS, if this has not already been done. Then begin CPR. If a child or infant is not breathing and has no signs of circulation, give CPR for 2 minutes immediately before calling EMS (if this has not already been done). Then resume CPR.

1. It is best to kneel a few inches to the side of the casualty and in a position so that you can place your hands directly on the breastbone, the part of the chest midway between the nipples. Put your hands on your ribs right now. Feel how the bottoms of the ribs curve up? This is where the ribs meet what’s called the sternum or breastbone. This is where you put your hands to perform proper CPR. The idea of doing CPR is to get blood circulating through the heart. If administering to a child, use the heel of just one hand, while placing your other hand on child’s forehead. For adults, put one hand on top of the other, centered at the breastbone.

2. To be effective, align your shoulders above your hands and straighten your elbows. You want to create a chest compression at the very center of the victim’s chest, which is best achieved by leveraging and utilizing the weight of your upper body. You press down with the heel of your palms, while moving in an upward direction. Again, the point of CPR is to force blood to enter the heart, which makes it involuntarily begin to beat again.

3. Push down and make 30 compressions at a rate of 100 per minute. It’s recommended to count aloud, which keeps a steady and regulated pace, as well as keeping your mindset focused on the job. For children, use one hand to give chest compressions. Use the same rate, but press less forcibly, only compressing the chest down about 1 inch each time.

Adult: Use both hands to give chest compressions, pushing into the chest down at about 1.5 to 2 inches each time.

CPR, one of the most universally proven emergency life-saving techniques, was invented by Austrian surgeon Peter Safar in the late 1950s. He dubbed his emergency medical method the ABCs and was nominated for the Nobel Prize three times for this and his other achievements. Unfortunately, although his method saved millions, he was unable to resuscitate his own daughter when stricken by a fatal asthma attack.

4. Just as in Rescue Breathing, now tilt the victim’s head, pinch the nose, and place your mouth over victim’s mouth. Give 2 breaths for an adult or child.

5. Repeat these steps 4 or 5 five times in about 2 minute intervals.

6. Assess for signs of circulation and breathing, and continue to perform this method until breathing begins or until EMS arrives.

CPR: Infant
*** CPR techniques have been updated several times in the last decade which again is why I highly advise that you take a First Aid/CPR course to be updated on the most recent technique. ***

1. Place two of your fingers on the breastbone.

2. Place your other hand on the infant’s forehead to keep the head tilted back and the airway open.

3. Using your two fingers, give 30 chest compressions. But don’t do as with adults and only compress the chest about .5 to 1 inch each time.

4. With the infant’s head tilted back, cover the infant’s mouth and nose with your mouth and give two gentle breaths.

5. Repeat Steps 3 & 4 about four more times, which should take about 2 minutes.

A good friend of mine went to work for the fire department shortly after leaving the SEAL Teams. He had only been on the department for a few weeks when he made the cover of the newspaper for saving an elderly lady from a burning house. There he was front page giving CPR. On the flip side, another good friend, also turned firefighter, was given the nickname “Dr. Death” because out of 99 CPR attempts he wasn’t able to save any of them. This wasn’t his fault. I tell this story to stress the importance of getting to the victim as soon as possible. Every second a person’s heart is not beating is a race against the clock and bringing them closer to death. And after about a minute without CPR, the chances of resuscitation are greatly reduced.

Periodically check with the American Red Cross and the American Heart Associate for any changes or modifications to the above information. New methods and standards are issued annually.

So, now that the victim is breathing and has a heartbeat, you must identify other injuries and primarily stop any bleeding. You need to continue to monitor the patient’s vital signs (breathing and heart rate) as this can change at any time.

2. Stop the bleeding

During catastrophes, accidents and survival situations, expect to see blood. Take action and don’t get freaked by the amount of blood you might see. As you know, blood is our vital fluid, and if too much is lost, you’re dead. The faster you can focus and remain alert, not panicking by the amount of blood you may or may not see, then positive actions can be taken to save your life or those around you.

First, examine the body for signs of major bleeding, such as large pools of blood or blood-soaked clothing. Expose the area by cutting away clothing if you have scissors or a knife, or find a way to see where the bleeding is coming from. Blood loss has to be stopped or the efforts in rescue breathing or CPR will be for naught. You must understand and practice methods to stop bleeding in order to be prepared for an essential element of survival medicine.

When I was at SEAL Team 1, my Platoon Chief who had been a SEAL for sixteen years, and a truly tough guy…been there, done that… though he still couldn’t stand the sight of blood. We had to wake him up every time he had to get a shot. It was classic.

You can detect if there is major bleeding usually by color, since bright red spurting bloods comes from arterial wounds, while a darker, red bleeding is usually venous or from smaller veins. Arteries are larger and where from a lot of blood can be lost quickly, causing sudden death. You must keep a mindset of being calm, yet unhesitating. Once you find the source, place your fingers or hand on the wound to apply direct pressure, which frequently helps to stop the more rapid flow of blood loss. If bleeding continues, and you do not suspect a fracture or a broken bone at the wound area, then try to elevate the arm or leg, for instance, above the level of the heart, while continuing to apply direct pressure.

As soon as bleeding subsides, then try to wrap it and cover the wound with what’s called field dressing, such as gauze or bandaging. Utilize the dressing to apply continuous pressure to the source of bleeding, wrapping it tightly. If no sterilized field dressing is available, use the cleanest cloth on hand. At this point, the bleeding must be stopped, so use homemade bandages made from T-shirts, socks, or any other garment within reach.

Field dressing is used on the wound to control and stop bleeding.
Pressure dressing is added and put over the wound and wrapped very tightly, even using a knot above the wound to create additional pressure on the dressing.

If there is broken glass, for example, or something impaled into the wound and the object is sticking out, then don’t at first try to remove it in the field. Instead, stabilize the object with bulky dressing made from the cleanest material available. If possible, try to keep the limb that is bleeding elevated. Sometimes, pulling out the impaled object will make the wound larger, and the first course of action is to control blood loss.

Once you have good pressure applied to the wound, keep it in place and monitor it. The moment it becomes soaked with blood, apply new dressings directly over the old dressings. Remember, the less a bleeding wound is touched and disturbed, the quicker the natural coagulants will have a chance to kick in and help to quell the blood flow.

If all this fails to control bleeding, then work on identifying a nearby pressure point. For wounds on arms or hands, pressure points are located on the inside of the wrist, the place where you’ve seen doctors and nurses feeling by using their fingers for a pulse. Another pressure point is on the inside of the upper arm (called a brachial artery). For wounds of the legs, the pressure point is near the crease of the groin (called a femoral artery). Try to apply pressure to these areas.

If none of this works, you then need to resort to fashioning a tourniquet, defined as any device that can be twisted and constricted tightly around a limb and above the wound to cut off the blood flow to the area. It can be placed around an upper arm or thigh, and then tightened to stop the flow of blood. A belt can be used as a tourniquet, or a strip of cloth wrapped around a stick and tightened like a corkscrew. Keep your wits and improvise with what is at hand.

During missions, there was a reason we always had several tourniquets on us when we went outside “the fence.” These were tied and placed where you could access them using only your right or left hand, if need be, and brilliantly designed for self-application. You just always hoped that you came back with as many tourniquet straps still unused as when you left.

When a tourniquet is needed

A tourniquet should be used as a last resort, when all other methods have failed, as it stops circulation, and, if improperly performed, could kill a person. If there is an amputation or a loss of any part of the upper arm, forearm, thigh, or lower leg then a tourniquet is the first course of action and essential. Apply a tourniquet to an amputated limb before attempting to use field or pressure dressings. Incredibly so, I’ve seen that when there is nothing but a stump left for a leg, it often times shows very little bleeding. Nevertheless, apply a tourniquet above the area foremost. Do not apply a tourniquet if there is an amputation to any part of the hand or part of a foot, as this might ill-effect the other fingers or toes, and cause all the fingers or toes to get cut off from circulation and kill the cells in these areas. Use a pressure dressing only to control bleeding for these types of wounds.

How to make a tourniquet

Tourniquet Bands can be made from any cloth or flexible material, cut into two-inch-wide strips. Do not use thin wires, electric cords, or shoestrings as tourniquet bands, as these will cut into the flesh. For best results, apply regulated pressure, wrapping the cloth around a stick and twist until tight. Also, try to find something to serve as padding to place between the limb and the tourniquet band. Sometimes, just use the casualty’s shirt sleeve, or trouser leg, or the part of the clothing you removed to see the wound.

Select a tourniquet site

The upper arm or high up on the thigh are ideal places to apply tourniquets. Select an area about two to four inches above the edge of the wound or amputation. If the wound is in any of the lower extremities, then apply the band just above the knee. If the wound is on the lower part of the arm, then put the tourniquet slightly above the elbow. Do not apply a tourniquet band directly over a joint where you see a broken bone or suspect a fracture.

Apply a tourniquet

1. The padding is used to protect the skin from being pinched or twisted when the band is tightened.
2. If the victim is still wearing clothes, simply smooth out the fabric of the sleeve or pants before putting on the tourniquet.
3. Put the tourniquet band above the wound area.
4. Make a half knot, as if tying a shoelace.
5. Put a rigid object on top of the half knot and then finish making the knot so the twisting object won’t come loose.
6. Then, twist the stick, pipe piece, or whatever you are using as your rigid object until the tourniquet is tight and you see the bleeding has subsided.

You might still see some darker blood from a vein continue to ooze even after the tourniquet has been properly applied, but the bright red arterial blood should stop. The tourniquet will be so tight as to cut off a pulse to all parts of the body that are below the tourniquet. However, don’t be fooled into thinking the blood has stopped and loosen the tourniquet. Doing so might allow the wound to start bleeding again, which could be fatal.

Use with Caution

A tourniquet is stopping all circulation below where it is applied, so make sure you keep the tourniquet exposed. In survival situations, you might have to leave the victim behind as you continue on with your escape, for example. Hopefully, medical personnel will follow and you must make it so that they know a tourniquet as been applied. You might even want to draw the letter “T” on the person’s forehead, and indicate the time the tourniquet was applied. A tourniquet left on too long will kill the cells in the entire limb, even if it is the only way to stop bleeding and save the victim’s life.

3. How to make bandages and stabilize fractures or dislocated bones.

You’ve done well to this point and stopped bleeding and have your casualty breathing. Now, you have the time to do a more thorough physical exam. You want to identify any additional injuries or conditions that may also be life threatening. Remember to keep monitoring the patient’s vital signs (breathing and heart rate) as they can change at any time.

This is not like an annual check-up type of exam. You’re under field conditions, and in the lingo of EMT’s it’s called a Rapid Trauma Assessment. Yet, you have to look over the body from head-to-toe, primarily looking for tenderness. If the person is conscious, they will react if you touch a certain spot. Also, look for swelling, or deformities. As if frisking someone, though gently, use both hands and work your way down the body front and back.


There are over 200 bones in the human body and during accidents and survival situations, chances are some of these are going to break or get fractured. The distinction between a fracture and a break in the bone is really only a measure of how damaged the bone is, yet a fracture essentially means the bone is broken. Depending on what bone is fractured or broken, however, can also be a life-threatening medical emergency.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons defines fractures this way:
Closed or simple fracture: The bone is broken, but the skin is not lacerated.
Open or compound fracture: The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of the fracture. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound.
Transverse fracture: The fracture is at right angles to the long axis of the bone.
Greenstick fracture: Fracture on one side of the bone, causing a bend on the other side of the bone.”

If you have time to identify the fracture and apply a split before moving the victim, do so. But, make a situational assessment, and if you must remove the casualty (and yourself) from immediate danger, such as to escape from a burning vehicle, or move out of the line of fire, before treatment, then make that call.

Identify the fracture: In all situations, try to expose the area where you suspect the broken bone to be. Try to loosen clothing or anything that might be applying more pressure to the non-bleeding, broken bone area. If on the arms, remove any jewelry that might limit circulation. Even check the victim’s pockets to see if there is anything that will cause undue pressure to the break. If the bone is on any part of the legs, and not the feet, then make sure you leave the casualty’s boots or shoes on. If you must keep moving, they will need them later on.

Stabilize the Fracture. Even the smallest broken bone is very painful, because it is causing tissue damage around the area. In the field, you are not going to try to do anything but “immobilize the fracture,” which means attempting to relieve pain and prevent additional injury. If an arm or leg is fractured, applying a splint is the most effective way to stabilize the area. In emergency medicine, the general principle is “splint the fracture as it lies.” Don’t try to snap it back in place; instead, the idea is to try to merely straighten the limb (if it’s not severely re-angled or deformed) in order to make a split.

The purpose of a split is to minimize the movement to the fractured area or bone. A splint may be a special device carried by EMT’s, but in survival medicine, you’ll likely have to improvise. Look for something rigid, such a plank of wood, a pole, even a tree branch. Rolled up newspapers, an unloaded rifle, are also possible things to use as a splint. You will also need something to tie the splint in place. Strips of cloth or a belt can be used.

Dislocated bones or sprains are injuries to the musculoskeletal system and are often not an actual fracture. Dislocation means the bone is out of its normal alignment, while a sprain is a twist or injury to the muscles around the bone. All can be very painful and immobilizing. Do not ask the casualty to move the injured area to test to see how much pain it causes. A splint can also be used in sprains and dislocations, depending on the body part. Especially, if you must keep moving, a split can prevent further injury.

1. Apply the splint to the effected area in the position in which you find it. Do not try to set it back in place or realign the bones.

2. It’s the inflammation around the injury that is causing pain, so if ice is available, apply liberally, placing an ice pack firmly on the area. You want to try to reduce the swelling, which can be aided by elevating the limb or joint above the heart. Ice is good at the onset of sprains and dislocations, but after 24 hours, heat is more effective in reducing pain.

Transporting injured
There are a number of ways to help the injured get out of harm’s way. The simplest — if you are capable — is called the “fireman carry,” which requires hauling the person over your shoulder. In reality, this will be slow and difficult to do over a long period of time. If there are a few people gathered with you, work as a team. For example, the “two-man carry” is performed when the injured is transported by having one person grab between the legs, and having the other sling the injured arms over the shoulders. Both rescuers are facing the same direction, and are moving with the injured legs first. A third form of transportation is the improvised pull-and-haul, which is performed by employing a dragline, made from rope, belts, etc. These are placed around the chest and under the armpits to drag the injured from danger. You might also need to create a makeshift stretcher with a blanket or similar item. Place the injured onto it and pull them to safety.

4. Treat for shock

It’s our circulatory system that continuously flows like a river through our veins and arteries, distributing blood to all parts of the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. If the circulatory system fails, and an insufficient amount of oxygen occurs, then the body goes into a medical condition known as shock. If a person remains in this state too long, the vital organs will fail, ultimately causing death. Shock is made worse by fear and pain.

It’s a tough thing to witness when you come upon a guy who just fell sixty feet from a helicopter while rappelling and has two broken legs with bones sticking out of the skin. This requires incredible focus to get into action and help. As horrified as I was to see such a thing happen to a fellow SEAL, I had to remain alert. You owe it to the person who needs your help to remain calm and go to work, reassuring him by your demeanor that he is in good hands. If a person in such a trauma sees fear in your eyes, it will only accelerate the fear in them and bring on life-threatening panic. Your fear could actually make it worse. If a person is injured and they see that you are panicking, this, in fact, can cause them to go into shock.

Causes of Shock

If blood isn’t flowing properly, then the main pump, the heart, is usually not functioning properly. The most common cause of shock is from a heart attack. But it can also be caused by a reduction in the volume of blood and a sudden loss of fluids. Some other causes of shock include: external or internal bleeding, fluid loss from severe diarrhea, vomiting, or burns. What’s happening to a person going into shock is that the blood supply is being diverted from the surface of the body, which keeps our bodies at a regulated temperature, and is instead sent to the core of the body, trying to sustain the vital organs. Sudden redistribution of the circulation can be spotted. The Army Guide recommends looking for the following symptoms:

  • Sweaty but cool skin (clammy skin).
  • Paleness of skin.
  • Restlessness, nervousness.
  • Thirst.
  • Loss of blood (bleeding).
  • Confusion (or loss of awareness).
  • Faster-than-normal breathing rate.
  • Blotchy or bluish skin (especially around the mouth and lips).
  • Nausea and, or, vomiting.


If you see these symptoms you can prevent shock by having the person lay down on their back. Elevate the feet, higher than the heart, and loosen clothing, such as a tight belt or collar of a shirt. Remember, do not move the casualty if you suspect fractures and do not elevate the legs if there is a head injury, or abdominal injury. Nevertheless, prevention and treatment methods for shock are basically the same. If you are in cold climates, try to place a blanket on the person, while if in the tropics, get the person into the shade. In all instances, you must reassure the person that you are in control and show no fear or panic. Be authoritative by showing self-confidence and keep assuring the shock victim that you are there to help them.

DO NOT give the person any food or drinks. If you must keep moving, place the person in the best position (in the shade, under a blanket, and with feet elevated). Also, if the person is unconscious, turn the head to the side, as this will prevent the possibility of choking if vomiting were to occur.

Stay tuned in the next coming weeks for more “survival” medicine techniques. Including how to treat injuries from the heat and cold as well as how best to deal with bites and stings.

Be a survivor… not a statistic,

Cade Courtley
Former Navy SEAL / 4Patriots Contributor

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