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Thread: Motorcycle medkit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Motorcycle medkit

    I know that many here ride bikes. The following is a post I have copied verbatim that is on RiderForums, and is a pretty good example of stuff to have on a bike. I think alot of it can be applicable in other situations as well. One thing that kind of stood out to me was that even if you aren't familiar with all the stuff in a comprehensive medkit, someone else at the scene might be, so even if you are a person who faints at the sight of blood, carrying a kit is still a good idea.


    I don't get by here very often, but I know the folks here are serious riders and will benefit from this tale.

    A fellow BMW club member posted the following incident. If he hadn't had a well stocked first aid kit on his bike, the victim probably would not have survived until the EMTs arrived. I have a pretty comprehensive first aid kit, but it is stowed in my side case so it doesn't always travel with me. (I changed that after reading the story, and made a mini kit.)

    Even if YOU aren't familiar with all the stuff in a comprehensive kit, someone else at the scene quite possibly will know how to use it. The accident happend just south of the DC Beltway within "minutes" of emergency aid, but it almost ended very differently.
    ** First I apologize for this post. Need it out of my head, and itís not easily readable and a little gory.**
    On my way home today traffic started to slow down on I-95S, rubbernecking. As I got closer my heart sunk, a motorcycle on its side, and a biker lying on the road with others just standing around. I cut across three lanes of traffic, parking on the shoulder, and ran over to see if 911 had been called. One lady was on the phone with them, and another gentleman in scrubs parked behind my bike and came running. He had a small auto first aid kit, but that was all, and it didnít have anything that would help this situation. I ran back to my bike and got my Aerostitch touring first aid kit and returned to the scene. The man was complaining of leg and chest pain, and had a severe laceration on his leg at the knee. He was lying in a puddle of blood that reminded me of a TV show, only this was rapidly congealing. Itís now on the knees of my Stitch too. Darryl, the man on the ground, was bleeding out, and in the modern world of 3-minute response times there was no EMS. They were reported at 5 minutes out, but took another 8 before they were on scene. The man in scrubs was a nurse from a doctorís office, and was just over me in training. Another lady approached and IDíd herself as a former ER nurse. She was Darrylís angel.

    We quickly devoured my first aid kit supplies, using the triangular sling as a tourniquet. This allowed us (ER Nurse as I struggled to maintain my composure) to pinch the artery off with my hemostats (an addition to my kit for use when the bike is overfilled with gas). This bought Darryl the time needed for EMS to arrive. By this point State Troopers and County Montyís were showing up, but none with anything comparable to the Stitch kit. EMS arrived and began triage, releasing me from my duties. I hung out until he was transported, grabbed my now empty kit, and vomited in the median. The ride home was somber, and Iím left with a few thoughts:

    Without the kit Darryl likely would have died.
    The hemostats paid for themselves in saved gas, and now again in saved blood.
    I want to go back to college for EMT training.
    I will never ride in jeans and a t-shirt again (stopped doing that a while ago anyway, but this seals the deal).
    EMS is not always 3 minutes away, and there are times when you have to be prepared to step in, get your hands dirty, and take the lead when it scares the s#$t out of you.
    I need a blood test (my kitís gloves had been pirated during a brake job).

    <Post script: Darryl is in ICU having needed surgery for chest injuries and some reconstruction on his leg. He is expected to recover, though it will likely take weeks.>

    For anyone who wants to pack SOME FIRST AID kit, but doesn't have room for a lunch box size, full out, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kit, you CAN put together a mini kit to carry that will help in a grave emergency.

    All you need is a quart size freezer bag.

    Trauma Shears - will cut leather, etc.
    Emergency Blanket. One of those silver things, the size of a travel pack of Kleenex.
    2-4, maxi pads - (yes, feminine hygene pads) OR 9x5 "Ab Sponges"
    2-4, 4x4 sterile guaze squares
    2 prs, NON Latex medical gloves
    Antiseptic Wipes
    Saline Solution mini travel size, 2oz, for rinsing wounds or eyes.
    Adhesive Strips (Band-Aids)
    Adhesive Tape small roll
    3" rolled guaze (Kling is recommended because it holds to itself)
    Triangular Bandage - can be used as a tournequet, etc.

    I hope that everyone can get at least this much on their bikes somewhere and carry it always. It may mean the difference between standing around helplessly and being able to DO something if you or someone you ride with is injured.

    Also, take some basic first aid training. It will help you be more in control if YOU find yourself needing to give aid.

    Here is the link to a really useful website with a shopping list for a more comprehensive, first aid kit you can put together and carry.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Midlands SC
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    2 (100%)
    Due to the fact that a motorcycle rider is not protected from penetrating chest trauma, I would add some sort of occlusive dressing to that list. Yes, you can use part of the emergency blanket in a pinch, but an Ascherman Chest Seal or some petrolatum gauze wouldn't be a bad idea either.
    A man with a gun is a citizen. A man without a gun is a subject.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    A pair of tourniquets. You probably dont need 10 of them but I have seen a few people with traumatic amputations or near-amputations secondary to getting pinned between two vehicles when someone hits a stalled car, someone changing a tire, running into an accident scene, etc. And no offense but I gotta throw the BS flag on the story. While hemostats are a usful tool in combat settings (and a very select few civilian cases) I find it highly unlikely that they were used to succesfully control the hemhorage in the story mentioned. A - the vessel will most likely retract, B - use a tourniquet. Just my thoughts.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    No offense taken, it was not my story and since I'm not a medic, I can't tell.

    What do you think of the rest of the information? Accurate or not so much? Any other advice / suggestions for motorcycle riders?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Good info overall. Basically what you need is the stuff to fix yourself up from any bumps/bruises/sun burns etc. that you will collect while riding. Beyond that, when we talk about people you will most likely stop and help they will either be able to be patched up with Band-Aids or they will need an ambulance. In the latter case you need the following:

    Gloves - A must even if you dont have a first aid kit
    Gauze/Kerlix - A few 4x4's and rolls of kerlix to help stop bleeding
    Tourniquet - At least two for the reason mentioned above

    And I would argue that that is all the lifesaving equipment an untrained person needs to help save a life in basically any life-threatening situation you will encounter on the highway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Carring a med kit on a bike is a really good idea. The only problem is if your not on a BMW, KLR, SV, or something with bags to carry it you really cant. The amount of room in the "truck" of a sport bike or ducati monster for that matter is a joke. They dont come with tool kits for the bike anymore, there is no room.

    Not saying that you shouldnt make room for one but sometimes theres not enuf room for a bottle of water. That being said if im going on a long ride, (out of town) I carry a med kit, flash light, tools, and all in a camelpack back pack.

    Honda Powersports now offers a first aid kit. It has bandaids, asprin, burn cream, anti-bactierail cream and gloves. (from what i remember) all for about $50. Oh ya the red bag says honda.

    Im trying to figure out how I can get the BMW 870 mount to work on my Ducati...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    SF Bay Area, CA
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    I'm not in the medical field or a medical professional, but have taken a First Responder course and a medical course from LMS Defense.

    When I ride, I use a tank bag and along with the tire plug kit, pump, etc I also have a trauma kit. It contains nitrile gloves, H-bandages, tourniquets, 4x4, Kerlix roll, 100mph duct tape and medical tape (IIRC). There might be some other items that escape me for the moment.

    In 2007, I happened to find myself in several medical situations; none of which where I was the victim (fortunately).

    The first one was a downed rider who came into a turn too quickly and dumped the bike. Stabilizing him for spinal injury was the biggest concern for those of us who stopped. Since we were in the tree-filled mountains and it was getting late, keeping him from going into shock was the immediate concern. Luckily a passerby had a sleeping bag in his vehicle and we carefully bundled him up to keep him warm until EMT and Fire arrived.

    Lesson: Make sure you have something to keep the patient warm and know how to treat for shock. And also carry a flashlight/headlamp.

    Another incident occurred where a rider went into a turn too hot and impacted the guard rail which happened right in front of me. His Honda Repsol bike was jammed into the rail and luckily for the rider, he didn't endo and tumble down the cliff. He physically slammed the rail and the only visible injury was slight road rash on his knee (he was wearing blue jeans and a moto jacket). He didn't want medical attention and left the scene, leaving his bike in place. A passerby had dialed 911 to get help. When the victim had left, I continued riding down the hill as there was nothing left to do at that point. Coming towards me was a Fire Engine, full lights and siren, heading up the hill to the scene.

    Lesson: When EMT, Fire and Highway Patrol respond to the 911 call and don't see the victim, they will assume the rider went over the cliff and start a search & rescue operation. I decided to turn around and meet up with the Fire Engine that passed by me and explained what I had witnessed and the victim leaving the scene and that he had not gone over the cliff. This is more of a common-sense, procedural lesson.

    Yet another incident where I rode up on a freshly overturned vehicle. The driver had swerved to miss a tire rim, that had fallen off of a truck loaded with junk. While swerving, the vehicle went up an embankment and rolled onto its side. There were already several people assisting and I tossed my medkit to one of them so I don't know if it was used or not. There was no value in having another cook in the kitchen (so to speak) so I directed/halted traffic.

    Rubberneckers were causing an immediate danger to the responders working the scene as they were going to cause a secondary accident. When Highway Patrol showed up I let them take over managing traffic.

    Lesson: Your medkit can be used by other people and doesn't have to be used by you. Secondly ensuring that the scene is safe can be just as important as assisting the patients.

    From my own personal experiences, the medkit is just part of the equation. It's being able to use the contents of the kit but also being able to see the whole scene i.e. big picture and possibly doing other things when needed.

    My $0.02.


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