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First Aid
Alcohol Poisoning
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Fractures of the Arm and Hand
Fractures, Dislocations and Soft Tissue Injuries
Fractures of the Ribcage
Fractures of the Skull Face and Jaw
Fractures of the Upper Body
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Injuries to the Lower Body
Injuries to the Lower Leg
Internal Bleeding
Poisoning from Household Chemicals
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Unconscious Casualty
If You Have to Move the Casualty

Internal Bleeding

Severe internal bleeding is a potentially life-threatening condition. While the blood may not be obvious it is still lost from the circulatory system and the casualty is therefore very likely to go into shock. Internal bleeding may also cause a build-up of pressure that, in areas such as the skull or around the heart, can cause serious problems, loss of consciousness and, if untreated, lead to death.

Sites of bleeding

Internal bleeding can be very difficult to identify. It is not unusual for Internal bleeding to happen slowly, with signs and symptoms showing up days after an accident. It can happen to any part of the body but the richness of the blood supply in the stomach, around the organs such as the liver and the spleen and in the bowel make these sites particularly vulnerable.

Internal bleeding is also likely to accompany some broken bones. The thigh bone protects the femoral artery and if broken may pierce it, causing a large and life-threatening bleed.

Signs and symptoms

  • The person is known to have had an accident (not necessarily in the immediate past)
  • Signs and symptoms of shock
  • Bruising
  • Boarding - this most commonly occurs where there is bleeding into the stomach area; the quantity of blood combined with the tissues swelling result in a rigidity to the tissues
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding from body orifices

If there is any combination of these signs and symptoms, suspect internal bleeding.

First Aid Treatment

  1. Treat for shock. Keep the casualty warm. Place him in a comfortable position, preferably lying down with the legs slightly raised. Reassure him. Treat any external bleeding or bleeding from orifices.
  2. Call for an ambulance as soon as possible and explain what has happened.

Monitor and record the person's pulse and breathing rates. This information will be useful for the medical staff in determining the extent of the injury.

If the casualty becomes unconscious, place in the recovery position and monitor airway and breathing. Be prepared to resuscitate if necessary.

Major organssusceptible to internal bleeding

Internal bleeding can happen in any part of the body but the stomach, the liver, spleen and intestines are particularly vulnerable because they have a rich blood supply. Internal bleeding can be very difficult to identify and signs and symptoms may not arise until several days after an accident has occurred.


Less serious internal bleeding such as small bruises can be treated with a cold compress to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

However, the possibility of further internal bleeding or underlying injury should not be ruled out, particularly if the casualty is known, for example, to have hit his head on a window during a car accident, or has been hit in the stomach by a reversing car. For more information on bruising.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.