Duct Tape Bandage

Discussion in 'Bush Medicine' started by Flint_2016, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Flint_2016

    Flint_2016 Hobbyist Hobbyist Bushcraft Friend

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    Here's a link to a different type of bandage,made with duct tape and thread.I found it browsing for something else,who knows maybe through bushcraftusa.com.



    Awell‑stocked first‑aid kit is one of the Ten Essentials, and on trips to remote areas, the scope of "first aid" necessarily broadens. When professional medical help is many hours (or even many days) away, canoeists and kayakers may be called upon to become medics, treating problems that would warrant a trip to the ER if they occurred at home. This is why getting formal instruction in wilderness medicine should rank high on every venturesome paddler's to‑do list.

    Deep lacerations are a case in point. The paddlers' world is full of sharp objects: knives, axes, mussel shells, coral, half‑submerged barbed‑wire fences, broken beer bottles… Any of these can slash open your tender flesh in less than a second, and no matter how careful you are, accidentsdo happen. Standard first‑aid is limited to stopping the bleeding (by direct pressure) and then protecting the wound with a gauze compress or similar dressing. That's fine if you're only a 15‑minute drive from the hospital. But what if you're kayaking in Arctic waters, the wind is blowing half a gale (and rising), and visibility is down to 100 yards, with little prospect of improvement in the next 36 hours? Or suppose you're camping next to a beaver pond, two strenuous days of paddling and portaging from your car, in an area with no cellphone coverage. What then? You've got a deep open wound. And you need to close it. So… What do you do after you've stopped the bleeding?

    Once upon a time, backcountry paddlers were encouraged to suture gaping wounds as soon as they'd been thoroughly scrubbed and debrided, and some wilderness medicine handbooks devoted several pages to the technique of stitching human flesh. But that advice has long been consigned to the museum of medico‑historical curiosities. A good thing, too. It's difficult enough to clean a contaminated wound properly in a hospital setting. Doing so in a riverbank camp borders on the impossible. And stitching a dirty wound closed is asking for trouble — serious trouble.

    Which is why the textbooks now suggest using wound‑closure strips ("butterfly bandages" or Steri‑Strips). These allow you to approximate the edges of the wound, thereby facilitating healing, while still leaving gaps for any purulent discharge to escape. But in my (limited) experience, neither butterfly bandages nor Steri‑Strips can be relied upon to keep a wound closed if the injured limb can't be rested — as may well be the case if a paddler's arm or leg is sliced open when he still has miles to go. In such cases, something more is needed. But what?

    Well, how about …

    reinforced tape in their repair kits. But duct tape is good for more than patching battered boats and torn tarps. It can also be used to mend a lacerated human frame. I didn't dream this up by myself. I first learned of it from nurse practitioner and former British Army medic Chris Anderson:

    Although living in the UK, whilst serving in the British Army as a medic I was canoeing in the Rockies around the Wainwright area in Canada some time ago. There was a fire ranger who took us for our survival training who was fantastic and thankfully put us in excellent stead in order to enjoy the wilderness for 10 days.
    I remembered the lessons he taught regarding using what you have at hand in order to survive [the trek] back into civilisation, and to this end, I have been using and teaching the techniques he taught us regarding the closure of wounds using duct tape.

    Surprised? I was. But I shouldn't have been. Duct tape has a lot going for it. It boasts a tenacious, waterproof adhesive. And it conforms well to uneven surfaces, while still retaining a measure of elasticity. In short, it's ideally suited to closing gaping wounds on active limbs.

    Of course, you wouldn't want to apply it directly over a gash. The adhesive would likely irritate the raw flesh, and removing the sticky tape later would almost certainly reopen the wound. But Chris let me in on the secret of using duct tape as a wound closure — safely. And now I'm passing the word along. So here goes:

    How to Use Duct Tape to Close a Wound

    I'm assuming you have the following items in your repair kit:



    • Duct tape
    • Stout, clean thread or a suitable substitute
    • Needle
      Possibilities include thin strands teased from paracord, dental floss, or monofilament.
    Now let's get stuck in. After stanching the bleeding and flushing the wound (use disinfected water and mild soap or detergent), proceed as follows:

    1. Tear off two strips of duct tape. Three‑ to four‑inch lengths are usually enough. (If the wound is longer than the duct tape is wide, add more strips as needed. But three‑ to four‑inch lengths should still be adequate.)

    2. Cut two lengths of stout thread, each one long enough to extend one‑half inch or so beyond the tape strips' edges. These will be used to prevent the tension stitches (see below) from cutting through the tape and pulling out.

    3. Place the thread on the adhesive surface of each strip of tape, roughly one‑half inch from one end, as shown in Figure A below. (The adhesive is colored pale gray; the tape's outer surface, dark gray. The thread is orange.)



    [​IMG]
    4. Fold the tape over the thread as shown in Figure B, then press the tacky adhesive surfaces together, trapping the thread in the crease (C). Repeat with the second piece of tape.

    5. Next, stick the prepared tape strips to the intact skin on either side of the gaping wound. Make sure the skin is dry. (Since duct tape often employs latex‑based adhesives, think twice before applying it to the skin of anyone with a latex allergy.) The thread‑reinforced creases should lie close to the edges of the wound without extending beyond them (Figure D below).

    6. Using more thread, place a running stitch between the tape strips, as shown in Figures E andF. You'll need to double ordinary sewing thread, but button thread or any similarly sturdy stuff can be used just as it comes. Stop the end of the thread with a figure‑eight knot to prevent it pulling through, and keep the stitches in the doubled portion of the tape (its outboard edge is shown by the dotted white line). Take great care not to stick the needle point in your patient's flesh. He's suffered enough already.



    [​IMG]
    7. Continue the running stitch as shown in Figure G, maintaining just enough tension to bring the lips of the wound together.

    8. Finish by tying off the working end of the thread. Now cover the closed wound with a light, sterile dressing.



    [​IMG]
    OK. It's time to get real. Well, realish, anyway. In the photos that follow, I used waxed nylon sailmaker's twine for thread. It performed admirably. I drew the line at self‑harm, however. Verisimilitude has its limits. I've indicated the "gaping wound" with red ink and cherry jam:



    [​IMG]
    What did I tell you? Have you ever seen a neater stitch‑up? It should prove far more tenacious than a line of butterflies, too. Better yet, I already have everything I need in my boat repair kit. And so do you, in all likelihood. But if you really want to be prepared, you'll, …

    Make a Brace of Duct Tape Wound‑Closure Strips in Advance

    I made a couple of sets in a trice, and it was much easier to do on a table at home than on a muddy riverbank in a downpour. Each strip was fashioned as shown above, but the finished strips were subsequently stuck to squares cut from the plastic lid of a (now‑empty) can of ground coffee. I then placed the running stitch as already described, leaving a generous free end at the finish:



    [​IMG]
    That being done, each completed closure was tucked into a ziplock bag and slipped into my "doc box." Piece of cake.
    The Duct Tape Rx for a Sticky Situation | How To Articles - In The Same Boat: Paddling.net
     

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  2. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  3. hidden_lion

    hidden_lion Supporter Supporter

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    i agree, a great idea and no having to Rambo-stitch yourself to close the wound
     
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  4. Kurt992

    Kurt992 Guide Lifetime Supporter Bushclass II

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    Very interesting idea. Thanks for posting.
     
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  5. Judge

    Judge Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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  6. Miles Thundergass

    Miles Thundergass Supporter Supporter

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    FYI: The adhesive on duct tape is a latex compound. Those with known latex allergy should avoid...Those with unknown latex allergy will soon discover it.
    Duct tape is also quite water impermeable and can macerate the underlying skin if left in place for an extended time.
     
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  7. will62

    will62 Guide

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    Making these up in advance is the way to go.
     
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  8. Cohutta

    Cohutta Guide

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    Why not hold the cut closed and place strips of DT across it?
     
  9. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

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    it would adhere to the edges of the wound and possibly pull it ope when you removed it...
     
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  10. lady beth 1968

    lady beth 1968 Tracker

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    Great idea! Thanks

    Sent from my Z981 using Tapatalk
     
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  11. DogDays

    DogDays Scout

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    Seems much easier to carry a small packet of Steri Strips. This would be handy as an alternative in the field if DT is all you have.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. isme

    isme Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I like it. I'm going to have to put some of these together to add to my pack. Thank you.
     

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