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A gunshot injury is any injury from a bullet or other projectile from a firearm. A gunshot wound is always considered a medical emergency. A gunshot releases tremendous amounts of energy. The bullet can enter or pass through the body. The mechanics of a high-velocity projectile injury can cause significant structural damage and loss of blood.
Dignity Health offers care to treat all types of gunshot wounds in Arizona, as part of our emergency services. For immediate medical care, call 9-1-1.
If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool to select your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Why Gunshot Wound Care is Performed
Initial gunshot wound care involves stopping bleeding and keeping the wound as clean as possible until doctors can evaluate the situation. Call 9-1-1 for emergency medical assistance. Give first aid for gunshot wounds. Apply direct pressure to the site, if possible, to control bleeding. Cover the wound with clean gauze or cloth but do not attempt to clean the wound itself.
At Dignity Health, emergency medical doctors will evaluate the gunshot wound and members of a trauma team will be assigned to provide care depending on the extent of injuries and location of the gunshot wound.
What to Expect
Gunshot wound care varies significantly depending on the location, number, and severity of the wounds. A gunshot that shatters a bone in the leg will require more complex care than a gunshot wound that passes through the soft tissues without damaging any adjacent vital structures.
Generally speaking, gunshot wound care may involve:
- Daily cleaning of the wound
- Packing the wound with gauze
- Applying a dressing
- Applying a negative-pressure wound therapy device
- Applying antibiotic ointment
- Caring for additional wounds related to surgery to remove bullets or restore function to bones or other tissues
Recovery After a Gunshot Wound
Your care team will work with you to make sure you understand how to care for a gunshot wound, and to help you obtain care assistance, if you need it. To speed your recovery, it is important to follow all instructions for caring for the wound at home. You may need assistance to care for a gunshot wound that you cannot easily see or reach.
Follow any activity restrictions to insure proper healing and return for follow-up care as instructed.
Dignity Health provides the latest emergency treatment for gunshot wounds in Arizona.