First Aid Tip #3: Trauma/Pressure Bandage
A typical trauma bandage has a wound pad designed to keep the injury clean of debris and help stop bleeding with an elastic wrap that holds the bandage in place with pressure. The wound pad helps stop the flow of blood, which starts the clotting process. The pressure feature of a trauma bandage uses an elastic wrap to apply pressure on the wound site to help stop severe bleeding by constricting the damaged blood vessels manually.
Ross Johnson, a combat-experienced 18D Special Forces medic, was taught in his medical training that the magic combo for treating a gunshot wound is packing it with Kerlix gauze and wrapping it with an Ace bandage. In combat, Ross once lost control of an Ace bandage that got away from him and wasted precious time in treating a wounded solider. So he created a new trauma bandage called the Olaes modular bandage to improve upon existing trauma bandage designs.
Ross named his advanced bandage design after the junior Special Forces medic on his team, Staff Sergeant Tony B. Olaes. Olaes was killed in action while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on Sept. 20, 2004, during a combat patrol near the town of Shkin in Afghanistan’s Paktika Province when his vehicle came under fire from enemy forces.
The Olaes modular bandage combines gauze and elastic wrap so in an emergency you only have to pull one item out of your aid bag instead of two. The Olaes modular bandage has three meters of gauze, an elastic wrap, a 5 x 7 inch piece of plastic, and a plastic cup to apply direct pressure to the wound area. The gauze is designed to stay in the dressing pocket or be removed from the dressing pocket depending on the treatment of the wound needed.
The 5 x 7 inch plastic sheet included inside the bandage is important to treat a wound where the bowels are exposed. The plastic can also be used on a chest wound that is feeding air into the chest cavity and collapsing the lung. To treat this, the plastic is tapped down on three sides, with the fourth side open to allow air to escape when the patient breathes. Carry 24 inches of rolled up medical tape in your pocket to secure the plastic on three sides of the chest.
The Olaes bandage uses a plastic cup that places a focused direct pressure on the wound area to help stop bleeding by closing damaged vessels. The plastic cup can also be used to protect a wounded eye against the pressure of a bandage placed over the head. One 4-inch Olaes modular bandage is about the size of a large dinner roll and it is carried comfortably in the right cargo pocket.