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Episode 17 S1-17

Treating a Bullet Wound


Special Guest:

Day After Disaster Ch 17

Dr. Ryan Chamberlin

In the Day After Disaster adventure, Erika is finally reunited with her old friend and they share stories as they wait for her husband and son to arrive at the Cool Camp. Star is still healing from her bullet wound and Erika must trust that the local nurse practitioner is up to the task of taking care of her wound despite the lack of access to a modern medical facility. Today Dr. Ryan Chamberlin, author of the Survival Medicine, Prepper Pages, joins us to discuss the realities of facing this type of wound in a real life survival situation.

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Steps as a First Responder:

  • Remember getting shot hurts. Whoever is injured is going to be in a lot of pain and screaming.

  • Try to compress the area.

  • Try to calm the patient down.

  • Get them out of immediate danger!

How To Treat The Wound:

  • Remove initial dressing slowly.

  • Irrigate with clean water. It does not have to be saline.

  • Pick out any pieces of clothing that have penetrated the wound with tweezers or forceps. Usually the clothing is the biggest cause of infection.

  • DO NOT CLOSE THE WOUND - it should have a chance to constantly drain. Otherwise the infection will get pushed into blood stream. It will drain pussy material.

  • Don't worry about getting the bullet out. You can't get lead poisoning from a bullet wound. You may cause more damage looking for bullet.

  • Cellulitis, redness around wound, should be tracked by marking the edge with a ball point pen each time the dressing is changed, about 24 hrs or so. If the redness is growing you may have a problem and should begin anti-biotic treatment if available.

  • The more distal the injury the better chance of survival you have.

The Tampon Debate: Effective For  Bullet Wound Treatment or Not?

  • Dr. Ryan would not recommend it.

  • However it would work in a pinch if it's all you had and he only recommends using it on a distal injury.

  • If the injury is to the abdomen it may give a false sense of security because even though the outside bleeding has stopped the internal bleeding is the more serious problem and is now masked.

  • He recommends using Celox, Quick Clot or an alternate hemostat

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Day After Disaster Ch 17

Dr. Ryan Chamberlin

Dr. Chamberlin was born and raised near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State. After graduating from Washington State University he attended the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona California, and in 1995, graduated as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. During his post-doctoral training he became interested in Survival Medicine and in developing a way of quickly training preppers to become self-sufficient medics. In the years since he has authored four books on DIY medicine, his first being The Prepper Pages: A Surgeon's Guide to Scavenging the Necessary Items for a Medical Kit, and Putting Them to Use While Bugging Out.


Dr. Chamberlin is a Professor of Biomedicine living in Portland Oregon. He has written four guides on survival medicine, and blogs on a number of subjects including emergency preparedness, Wilderness Medicine, and First Aid kit building.

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