Don’t provide first aid to someone you just shot (usually)

Greg Ellifritz writes Active Response Training, one of the few blogs worth reading if your interest is in armed civilian self-defense and/or the intersection of it with law enforcement issues.  He recently posted a piece on why not to provide first aid to an attacker that you just shot here.  It is excellent, and focuses on the fact that it isn’t safe to do so.  I concur completely, and in case you wanted even more reasons to not give first aid to your just-shot attacker, here’s a few:

  • Are you trained in GSW first-aid?  I doubt it.  Even if you have first responder training (as I did all the years I was sworn), it doesn’t include GSW treatment.  You could easily do more harm than good.
  • Lacking GSW treatment training you could easily be sued for injuring your assailant even more, regardless of whether you do or not…which won’t be easy to ascertain.  Good Samaritan laws require that you 1) be trained in the treatment you provide, 2) that that training be current, and 3) that you follow the training.  Otherwise the liability shield they provide is pierced.
  • If you have GSW treatment training, is your certification in it current?  And for you mil guys and gals, is your mil cert civilian-recognized in the jurisdiction you are in (and how the hell would you know that!)?
  • You’re going to risk your immediate safety, and risk the huge damage to yourself and your family of being sued, to treat a person who you just moments ago was trying to maim, rape, or kill you?
  • The worst that could happen, medically-speaking, to the person you just shot is that they die.  Which is something that you were completely justified in causing just a few seconds ago when you shot them.  If they die as a result of lack of treatment, it’s  no more than you were justified in causing in the first place.
  • Treating the BG on the ground means that you are ignoring, not just the safety of yourself, bystanders, and close-by loved ones, as Greg pointed out, but the immediate first-aid that they–the innocents–may require.

Get yourself and your loved ones to a safe place, call 911, follow proper protocol, and warn bystanders to stay back.  That’s what every responsible trainer teaches.  For a…nay, for many…good reasons.

Update:  This advice goes for tourniquet application in spades.  Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I know of no credentialing body (that any state jurisdiction recognizes) that will certify you in tourniquet use.  There’s are lots of good instructors out there teaching its use (Greg Ellifritz is one), but I don’t think their course will provide you any liability protection if you use it on someone, even correctly.  I have trauma kits in my car and in my EDC bag, but they are for use on me or someone I like or love — not strangers.  As much as you’d like a stranger to come to the aid of (for example) your severely bleeding child, you’d  sue them too if you believed that that child suffered as a result of the tourniquet, or if they actually did.  And that’s not too hard a thing to believe if your child didn’t fully recover from their injury.  Don’t blame me – there’s a party of trial lawyers and a party that is trying to constrain the run away legal system that we have, and I haven’t voted, in my 41 years since I became an adult at 21, for the former except once in a local election.

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