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How to Remove an Impaled Object: Here's What You Need to Do

How to Remove an Impaled Object: Here's What You Need to Do

Knowing how to remove an impaled object is information that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to use, but can prove useful in an emergency situation. Read on to learn more about what you can do for impalement injuries, and what first aid steps to remember.

How to remove an impaled object

Impalement injuries are thankfully, very rare. Despite this, it’s still important to know what to do in case this happens, because depending on the severity of the injury, it can quickly become a life-or-death situation.

Here are some important things to remember:

1. Assess the injury

First off, you should check the person’s overall condition as well as their injury. Check to see if they are conscious, breathing, and if they are able to move. Next, check the injury itself. Take note of where the injury is, the depth of impalement, and what object has been impaled.

It is important to provide this information as soon as you call for help, so that the paramedics know what to expect with regard to the injury1.

2. Call for help as soon as possible

Impalement is a serious injury, so you should call for help as soon as possible. Be sure to be as accurate as you can when providing your location, so that help can arrive quickly.

As much as possible try to avoid taking the person directly to the hospital, since moving around could cause further injury. Only do so if you can’t call for help and have no other options.

3. Do not remove the impaled object

You should never, under any circumstances, remove the impaled object on your own2. This is because in an impalement injury, the impaled object can act as a “plug” that helps stop bleeding. If you pull out the object, what could happen is that the injured person could bleed out.

It’s also possible that in some cases, removing the object can cause a more serious injury, especially if vital organs are affected. So never, ever remove impaled objects from a person. Only doctors and medical professionals can do this, as they know best how to remove an impaled object without causing further injury.

4. Tend to the injury

Now that you’ve assessed the injury and have called for help, you need to tend to the injury. This is the next step on how to remove an impaled object.

Try to clean the wound as much as you can. You can do this by using any disinfectant such as alcohol, or iodine. If you have water, that can also be used to clean the wound. Be very careful when doing this, as you don’t want to remove an impaled object.

If you have any gauze or bandages, you can try to dress the wound, which should help stop any bleeding and protect the injury3. This can also be used to stabilize the impaled object and prevent it from moving around or being knocked loose. However, be sure to avoid anchoring the bandage directly on the impaled object.

In some cases, there might be continuous bleeding. What you can do in this case would be to place padding on the injury, and apply indirect pressure to the wound. The pressure should help stem the bleeding until help arrives.

If you know how to use and make a tourniquet, that could also work if you’re having a hard time stopping the bleeding4.

5. Stay with the patient until help arrives

When it comes to how to remove an impaled object, after tending to the injury, be sure to stay with the person until help arrives. Try to talk to them and keep them calm, and reassure them that help is on the way.

If they are able to move, you can also assist them so that they can be in a more comfortable position. This way, you can keep tabs on their condition, and are able to do something in case their condition suddenly gets worse.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to impalement injuries, the important thing to remember is to not remove the object. Only medical professionals such as doctors know how to remove an impaled object, so it’s best to leave it up to them.

Learn other First Aid here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  1. Impaled object : Nursing2021, https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Citation/2011/07000/Impaled_object.24.aspx, Accessed June 3, 2021
  2. Standard First Aid Course – Chapter Five – Soft Tissue Injuries, http://www.operationalmedicine.org/Library/Manuals/Standard%201st%20Aid/chapter5.html, Accessed June 3, 2021
  3. 8-04. TREAT A WOUND WITH A PROTRUDING (IMPALED) OBJECT | Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Wound Treatment, https://brooksidepress.org/TCCC/lessons/lesson-8-treating-soft-tissue-injuries/8-04-treat-a-wound-with-a-protruding-impaled-object/, Accessed June 3, 2021
  4. First Aid for embedded object and bleeding, https://www.firstaidae.com.au/bleeding-management-for-embedded-object/, Accessed June 3, 2021
  5. Removal of an impaled knife under thoracoscopic guidance, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677854/, Accessed June 3, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 07
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel