Bleeding and Shock

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There are four main types of bleeding:


2.    VENOUS



Your heart pumps blood from one side into the lungs and then sucks it back from the lungs into the other side of the heart where it is pumped out through your arteries. After going to your body's organs and capillaries, it returns back to the heart via the venous system.

The types of bleeding can easily be identified by the colour and the way the blood leaves the body.

Capillary Bleeding: is the least serious bleed and this is where blood oozes through the skin like a small cut or graze. Capillary bleeding usually stops with little or no effort. It can easily be controlled, just ensure that the wound is clean and apply a gauze dressing or adhesive dressing if necessary.

Venus Bleeding: can be identified by a steady, non-pulsing flow of very dark red blood. It is dark red because it has a low level of oxygen and is returning to the heart. This is a serious bleed.

Arterial Bleeding: This is the most serious type of bleed. This is bright red and pulsing as it comes through the skin. It is bright red because it has come from the heart and lungs and is oxygenated.

Internal Bleeding: This can occur for various reasons including illness and impact and can be identified by bruising and signs of shock. Controlling internal bleeding will require EMS and the first aid treatment is the same as for shock which will be covered later.

Where possible, ask the patient to elevate the wound and apply direct pressure to the wound while you are putting on your gloves.

Inspect the wound and look for the exact point where the bleeding is coming from and activate the EMS.

Using direct pressure, apply a gauze pad or pressure bandage starting at the furthest point away from the heart and bandaging towards the heart.

If the blood seeps through, remove the first dressing and apply another fresh dressing, ensuring that pressure is applied accurately at the point of bleeding.

There are many types of shock. The first is caused by blood loss or trauma where either blood leaves the circulatory system internally or externally, or the circulatory system fails to cause blood pooling in the circulatory system. Shock causes a lack of oxygen to the body's tissues.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: Restlessness, dizziness, confusion, cool moist skin, anxiety, delayed capillary refill time, and weakness.

Another type of shock is when the body has an allergic reaction to a substance that has been eaten, injected, or inhaled. This is called anaphylactic shock and will be covered later.

Treatment for shock is simple. Because there is not enough blood in the circulatory system, you can temporarily adjust the balance of blood by elevating the person's legs 15-30cm, allowing blood to flow back to the vital parts of the body.

  • Make sure the patient is comfortable 
  • Elevate the legs 15-30 cm 
  • Activate EMS

**Never elevate the legs if you suspect spinal injury or other limb damage.**

Hypovolaemic Shock is when there is not enough blood circulating in the body’s circulatory system. This can be a result of bleeding or other damage.

Neurogenic shock is where the body does not have control of the circulatory system.

Cardiogenic Shock is a poorly functioning heart.

Fainting is a mild form of shock and is not often deemed to be severe enough to activate EMS. Fainting occurs due to a lack of oxygen to the brain and a drop in blood pressure.

While fainting itself is not a serious occurrence, there may be a more serious underlying cause. Therefore, you should alert the emergency services if someone faints. People can faint for a number of reasons such as overheating, emotional stress, pregnancy, as well as more serious conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, anaphylaxis, or other serious medical conditions.

When someone has fainted, you need to ensure that they are breathing and the airway is open. Raise the legs to increase blood pressure within the body’s vital organs. It is important with fainting (regardless of the cause) for the patient to stay down until the EMS arrives. Standing up will cause the blood to flow from their vital organs, risking more serious situations to arise.