If the injury is not on an arm or a leg then the choice is only a haemostatic dressing. But if the injury is on a leg or arm you have a choice of what to use.
There are areas that haemostic dressings cannot be used to pack a wound, namely on a open head injury or an open chest wound. Haemostatic dressings are ideal for other parts of the body like the abdomen and the junctional parts of the body.
With choosing which is best for the arms or legs, direct pressure is your first choice but when that has proven to be not effective, there are no set rules on whether a tourniquet or haemostatic dressing is best, as it will vary on the injury, size of the patient or the number of patients that you are dealing with. A tourniquet once applied works immediately so it can give you time to deal with a second patient, where as a haemostatic dressing needs to be held in place for a number of minutes before it is effective. Haemostatic dressings are ideal for smaller wounds or puncture wounds but ultimately the choice is yours.
You must assess the situation, work out what you have available, decide how many causalities you have and what injuries they have and then make your mind up on which one or combination is best.
New Tourniquet and Haemostatic video online course now available. Call ProTrainings on 01206 805359 for more details.