How can a person survive injuries which involve dismemberment, ruptures on main arteries or great damage to various parts of body; such as mine explosions, industrial accidents, limb removal for torture? How come they don’t bleed out?


As an M1 student, I am not clueless about anatomy and very basic concepts of natural sciences. Yet I can’t wrap my head around how much damage human body can endure. When an explosion blows the thighs and below away, when something crushes or dismembers your legs or arms, when your neck is slit or pierced; femoral, brachial, carotid arteries should be cut open or squished as far as I can figure. How people survive a ruptured main artery or vein, especially in conditions where you don’t get emergency treatment right away? (Countryside accidents, war injuries, …)

In: Biology


Being sliced off is more survivable because the remaining artery retracts & the surrounding muscles / tissues compress it somewhat. That doesn’t mean that those injuries are survivable without fast & hard medical intervention.

Arteries can vasospasm for hours after an amputation and cause minimal blood loss. It’s not always the case though, and a majority of the time significant blood loss will occur. Field tourniquet is one of the most simple lifesaving devices to have a huge impact on the mortality of extremity injuries.

It depends. People do die from these types of wounds. What matters is not what’s happening at the wound site, but the rest of the body. You have a better chance of survival if blood continues to flow to important organs (brain, heart, lungs).

If the wound is sealed up, blood continues to flow around the body instead of out of it. A wound can be sealed up by blood clots (your body’s natural response), heat/fire (cauterizing), or compression (squished enough to be effectively closed off).

This is why first aid for injuries like this is to elevate the wounded area (to reduce blood pressure that tries to push blood out instead of around) and compression (to squish the blood vessels enough that the blood stays in).