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First Aid/Facial cuts, field treatment?


Hello, I'm writing a fan fiction and trying to figure out how someone would treat knife cuts to the face while in the field.
The cuts would be to one cheek/side of face, three diagonal slashes meant to mimic marks left by an animalís claws, with the first one just under the eye and the last one nicking the corner of the mouth. They would be deep and deliberate.
With no medical professionals nearby and not much time to put into care before they have to become active again, what would the victim do to treat the cuts? They should have some training in emergency aid and might have some basic supplies with them, traveling light it would be just small stuff in small amounts.
I've heard that you're not supposed to use glue or liquid bandages on facial cuts, is that just because proper treatment is better or are stitches/tape needed to keep the cut closed?
In this case the injured person would not be thinking about long term care at the time. Their priority would be to not die/faint because of blood loss and hopefully reach a hospital within a day or two.
So what could they do to patch themselves up in a few minutes time? Any pointers would be really great, I've tried reading first aid articles but when it comes to facial cuts they always say 'call a doctor' without mentioning why or what to do if there is no doctor to call- Itís getting a bit frustrating.
Thanks for the help,

Hello Jaz,

The idea of professional, immediate medical care is more for aesthetics as far as the face is involved. 20 minutes of good direct pressure with a clean cloth will do wonders to stop bleeding. After that, hopefully you can get to a plastic surgeon with facial reconstructive specialty though it sounds like that will be delayed for a couple days at least. My first thought when I read your question is "duct tape". if the victim can get some clean, dry areas on either side of the wounds a good quality duct tape should adhere well to the skin and keep the the wound margins closed and relatively in-line.  with suturable wounds, especially facial wounds the quicker you can get to a plastic surgeon the better, ideally within 6 hours but definitely less than 24 hours. After the wound starts to heal (with or without medical treatment) the scar tissue has to develop and stabilize over a year. After a year they can be looked at by a plastic surgeon again for scar revision to lessen the appearance of scar tissue.

Good luck with your writing, I hope my thoughts helped you with your questions.


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Marcus LaBarbera


I am available to answer most questions related to: first aid, pre- hospital medicine, EMT and Paramedic questions, medical transport, critical care transport, ICU/CCU care, sedation, and medicine in general.


I have worked as a NYS Paramedic since 1993 for both community based ambulance companies and large commercial agencies. I Have experience as bike team commander, and shift supervisor for a commercial ambulance. As a member of the Disaster team I was deployed to Louisiana for 20 days following hurricane Katrina. I worked along side the county Haz-Mat team as a "Tox-Medic" with advanced training in treating injuries from chemical agents. Besides my experience on the on the ambulance I have worked in a number of hospital based offices including dialysis and a sleep lab.

I started my EMS career as a NYS CFR (Certified First Responder)in 1989, an EMT in 1991, a Paramedic since 1993, and a CCU transport paramedic since 2005. I currently hold certification as a: NYS Paramedic, Critical Care Transport Paramedic, ACLS/CPR/PALS certified. Advanced Haz-Mat Life Support certified (AHLS). In the past I have taught CPR and ACLS to my coworkers and the local community.

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