10 Emergency Medical Procedures That Can Be Done on the Fly

Bullet Removal
Do not remove a bullet yourself! In the vast majority of cases, this will do far more damage than leaving it embedded until medical help arrives. © 2016 HowStuffWorks, a division of Infospace LLC

With all of the mass shootings in America and around the world, it may seem like bullet removal might be something you have to face some day. But the first thing to know is this: Do not remove a bullet! In the vast majority of cases, trying to do this will create more damage than leaving it wherever it's embedded until medical help arrives. A bullet may have lodged itself in an artery, for example, and actually be plugging the hole and preventing the victim from bleeding out. Bullets also may break into pieces once inside the body, and if that happens it can be nearly impossible to find all of the scattered bits [source: Hubbard].

The best treatment for someone who has been shot is to check the person's circulation, then airway, then breathing (CAB). This may seem counterintuitive — shouldn't the person be breathing first? No. In emergency situations where medical attention isn't a quick ambulance drive away, it's most important to stop any serious bleeding first by applying direct pressure to the wound and elevating the affected area. Then you can move on to making sure the person's airway is clear and, finally, that she's breathing. If she's not, it's time to begin CPR [source: Hubbard]. FYI: The trained medical personnel who eventually treat the shooting victim may also elect to leave the bullet or its fragments in the person's body.