The medic approaches the commando “you’re bleeding.”
Commando responds after spitting out tobacco juices “ain’t got time to bleed.”
Medic replies “damn, that’s hardcore but I can see the entry and exit would; and it just happens I have just the thing for it so you can go on killing like a boss.”
The medic pulls a tampon out of his pack and uses it to stuff the wound; or so the stories go.
If only they had had tampons for the medic in the blockbuster film Saving Private Ryan, and not quick clot…right?
Having personally spoken with many army medics who actually carry feminine hygiene products for that specific purpose I do not doubt it has been used, and probably successfully; although I think I would opt for a good old fashioned pressure dressing.
What is the reality of bullet wounds and are there misconceptions about treating these bullet holes with a tampon; it certainly sounds good in theory and myth. If you were to ask an EMT/Paramedic he will likely tell you never to do this.
A bullet would on TV is very simple, but in reality a person deals with an entry hole, and one or more exit wounds. I single exit wound, depending on the type of round, can be over 20 times the size of an entry wound. Depending on the angle of entry on the body there can also be long distances between those holes.
If you’ve shot animals then you know that often times large portions of otherwise edible flesh must be carved off around the wound as the bullet will fracture (yes even a full metal jacket can come to pieces), and if any contact is made with bones then the wound will be full of little slivers. A bone can often change the trajectory of the round and cause a bullet to exit at unexpected trajectories.
Obviously this causes a vast amount of internal and external bleeding. If a serious wound is on one of the limbs your likely best quick option will be a pressure dressing or tourniquet; any other wounds are for a different article. And it is likely that in the process of inserting a foreign object into a bullet or other puncture wound you can manipulate the wound and cause additional bleeding and pain. And then there is the beauty of cotton, which will expand in size bonding with the tissue and drying blood; removing a tampon would be like peeling a scab of your skin that runs several inches deep…it might sting just a bit and will likely worsen the bleeding.
So what do we do with the tampons in our first aid kits? I recommend you give it to a family member or save it for a bloody nose. Please keep foreign objects out of your traumatic puncture wounds and stick to proven methods.