- Emergency medical assistance is critical for any serious wound to the chest.
- Even if there are no external wounds, there may be internal damage.
1. Begin CPR, if Necessary
If the person is unresponsive, has stopped breathing, or is gasping for air:
2. Cover an Open Wound
- Use a cloth, pad, piece of clothing, plastic, aluminum, or whatever is at hand.
- If possible, cover two inches beyond the edge of the wound.
- If blood bubbles up from the wound or you hear air passing through the chest cavity, tape cover down on three sides to prevent air from building up in the chest.
- Do not remove any objects that have penetrated the chest.
3. Stop Bleeding, if Necessary
- Apply pressure over dressing to control bleeding.
- If blood soaks through the dressing, apply additional dressing on top of old one.
4. Position Person to Make Breathing Easier
- If possible, place the person on the injured side or sitting up.
5. Monitor Breathing
- If breathing becomes weak, apply CPR as instructed above.
6. Follow Up
- The medical team will assess the injury and stabilize the person.
- A blood transfusion may be necessary if there is significant blood loss.
A temporary chest tube may be placed to remove air surrounding the lung, which could cause the lung to collapse. When a lung collapses, it is called pneumothorax.
Surgery is likely for a serious chest injury.