Monday, June 17, 2013

When You Hurt Yourself

I stole a second to actually browse the recommended videos YouTube had for me on my page today and was caught by the title of a video called, "I got stabbed:( and some sweet knife porn !!"
I wanted to hear the story of this one so I clicked on the video and started to watch.

If you would like to watch, here it is:

Before I go any further I would like to say that this isn't a blog to bash on this guy. To my knowledge I've never watched one of his videos before nor have I interacted with him. I really don't even know what his channel is about other than knives. So, all that being said, I have absolutely nothing against this guy.

To my knowledge he's neither stupid nor ignorant. He just happens to be someone who posted a video about his experience and I happened to come across it and thought it would make some great talking points. And so here we go..

He starts the video explaining about how he accidentally stabbed himself in the leg.

While working on a Spyderco Cat (with a 2.438 inch blade) he dropped the knife.

Some of you may remember this status update I posted in April:

He had lapse in judgment.

Again, he probably knew better. According to him, he's used to trying to catch screws and tools with his legs so his trained response upon dropping anything in his shop was to close his legs and catch said object in his lap.

What he caught was a 2.438" blade in the thigh. Hilt deep.

He then pulled the knife out, went upstairs, called his father-in-law, went to urgent care, got ten stitches (five internal and five external) and lived to make a video about it.

My first point should be pretty obvious.

1. Don't try to catch knives or guns. Or get in habits that would condition you to do so.

Really and truly! Sometimes those of us who work with guns and knives get a little complacent. We get so used to handling them that we take them for granted. We do silly things with them and while we may not break any specific rules we may think we are above being extra cautious. It can happen to anyone of us and it's a credit to the responsible people in the gun/knife communities that it doesn't happen as often as you'd think.

This individual trained himself over and over and over again to catch falling things with his legs. When he dropped a knife he did what he trained himself to do. I suspect that conditioning will stop after this and he will find a way to capture falling screws and tools without assistance from his thighs.

2. Have some medical knowledge and think before you act. 

I'll admit. The EMT in me was just about having a fit when he said he pulled the knife out and THEN ran upstairs to call his father-in-law and get help. She was screaming, "You NEVER remove a penetrating object!"

But the regular gal in me shrugs and says, "Shut up! You would have done the same thing and you know it!"

The negotiator between the two sides says, "Now girls, stop fighting! We all know that she would have assessed the wound and made an educated decision as to whether it was wise to remove the knife or not."

I don't know how much the author of the video knows about knife wounds, treating them and so on. I don't know what kind of assessment, if any, he gave himself before pulling the knife out. I won't speculate. I only know that my first reaction is to say that pulling out the knife was a dumb thing to do. There's a lot of vital stuff running through the thigh and many times the impaled object acts as a plug to the wound and keeps lots of blood from being lost. That's the textbook EMT talking.

The practical individual in me says that as long as I was able to look at the wound, where it was located and the vitality thereof, a razor-sharp knife in my own thigh would probably be coming out sooner rather than later so that I could get pressure on the wound and not have to worry about accidentally cutting myself further as I tried to move around and get help. Yes, I'd probably get the same speech at the hospital I am giving you now but I know I have at least some knowledge in treating myself.

In an absolutely worst case scenario I could always have grabbed my EDC bag and thrown a tourniquet on myself.

That being said, if this were you, would you have the knowledge and skill to assess your own wound and determine whether or not you would remove the knife yourself and how you might treat it if it didn't stop bleeding?

If you chose to leave the knife in place would you know how to stabilize it? 

Would you know the danger signs of arterial bleeding vs venous? 

Would you know how to treat yourself for potential shock?

What if this had been a firearms accident? Do you know how you would assess yourself for a gunshot wound?

3. Don't underestimate your wound.

I can't say whether or not this individual underestimated his wound or not. I didn't see the wound. But, he called his father-in-law and his father-in-law was who took him to urgent care. He even expressed in the video how this was better than the ER. It very well could have been. However, we have 9-1-1 for a reason. We have ambulances for a reason and we have an ER for a reason. They can be more expensive but don't let saving money be a reason for not calling for more immediate help.

That being said, he's not the first individual who has had an accident like this and not called 9-1-1. My own brother had a firearms accident that was very serious and he drove himself home. Once he got home my father drove him to the hospital. In retrospect, he should have called 9-1-1. Or, at very least, my father should have called 9-1-1 the moment he found out that my brother had accidentally shot himself.

While it did turn out okay in the end, that's a perfect example of someone underestimating the severity of their own wound and not opting for the paramedics with cool drugs in the vehicle that can legally go through stop lights coming to pick you up vs trying to be a man and drive himself. He could have passed out on the road, bled out in the car, all sorts of bad things. There is a time to say, "Hey, I think I need to call 9-1-1."

4. Learn from the experience.

How did you end up hurting yourself? Was it an accident? Was it negligence? Was it someone else's negligence? Was it a bad habit? Was it poor or faulty training? What can you change to make sure something like that never happens again?

Can you learn something else?

The author of this video noted that the entire incident didn't hurt until much later. He said he figured getting stabbed in the leg would hurt like crazy but it didn't at all. We can apply that knowledge to everyone out there who tries to rely on pain compliance for self defense. A lot of times, due to adrenaline and other factors, there may be no pain. Pain compliance is a lousy self defense tool. Can it be used? Absolutely! But it has its time and place and often should be nothing more than a by-product of you doing serious damage to someone.

My brother said getting shot felt like getting stung by a few bees. Like the author of this video he said he didn't really start to hurt until the next morning. And as I remember it he spent several days laying on the floor because it hurt to much for him to even try to get up onto the couch. The day of the incident, however, he was as mobile as though nothing had happened.

It's not impossible that we may have accidents and hurt ourselves. We avoid threats and danger because we don't want to have to use our tools of self defense. But, just in case, we plan for a lot of "what if's." Accidents should be one of them. Plan for them. Avoid them. But plan for them.


  1. Worst thing that ever happened to me was jumping out of a tree barefoot landing on a big rusty nail coming out of a board. I was 10, and it hurt a little at first then when I saw a bloody nail out of my foot, it didn't hurt, I was scared. My dad ripped it out and pored rubbing alcohol on it, then it HURT! Parents took me to hospital and got a lecture about calling 911. It is hard to keep a clear head sometimes when it is you or a loved one.

    1. Yes, it is. My son fell down the stairs once when he was a baby and I fell to pieces. Thankfully it happened at my parents house and my mother, a nurse, immediately snapped into nurse mode and started an assessment on him. Watching her calm and reasoned response made me realize how ill-prepared I was for accidents. I didn't like that I panicked. It's one of the many reasons I decided to get medical training.
      There has been at least one situation since when an accident occurred I was the one who snapped in to EMT mode and started an assessment instead of panicking.
      Can't say that I will never again panic. Especially if the accident occurred to myself, but I do feel much more prepared which was worth every penny I spent on my training.