A few weeks ago a few of my buddies and I hired two Medical Professionals to come in and give us a class on IV’s. It was a four hour class on the reasons why you’d give an IV in an emergency situation and the procedure to do so.
There are four major reasons why you’d give an IV. Diarrhea, Nausea/Vomiting, GI Blockage and Bleeding. For three out of the four replacing fluids in the body is the goal. We are about 98% water and once you begin to disrupt the balance of cels the body begins to weaken and break down. The fourth is to try to lubricate the GI track by pushing fluids in to relieve the blockage. The body can be in one of three states: Isotonic, this is where everything is in balance. Hypertonic, where there are increased levels of solutes in the body and Hypotonic, where there is a reduction of solutes in the body. Think of Hypertonic like this: in layman’s terms salt will suck out moisture so if someone has head trauma and their brain is swelling the ICU may give a Hypertonic IV to pull the swelling out of the skull. Hypotonic may be used for when someone is having issues with their Kidneys and we need to flush the kidney. For all our needs we will only be dealing with Isotonic IVs because we don’t want to disrupt the bodies balance, we just want to keep it going to fight another day.
Once we got through theory we broke down the items in our kits: In a basic IV kit you need Nitrile Gloves, Alcohol Wipes, IV Catheter, the tubing with valve to regulate flow, the IV Start Kit which has the sterilization prep solution, tourniquet, and skin shield, finally for size the 500ml .9% Sodium Chloride bag.
After going over the gear it was time to let the blood start flowing. We all practiced on a specially designed artificial arm then got to go live with the practice. Here’s a couple shots from the class.
There are obviously many factors involved with why you’d give someone an IV and how to do it properly. How many of you will add this level of trauma care to your 72 Hour Bag is probably very few, but none the less there are ways of learning this stuff and it is possible to get the equipment required to accomplish these life saving techniques. Remember it is illegal to use these techniques on someone without having the proper medical licensing but there is no law saying you can’t use this stuff on yourself. Knowledge is power, you can take it with you and it weighs nothing.