Bob Lee Swagger and his improvised IV

Bob Lee Swagger and his improvised IV

This is a discussion on Bob Lee Swagger and his improvised IV within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been browsing a recent thread "First aid supplies for gunshot wounds." It caused me to think about Bob Lee Swagger. Remember the movie "Shooter" ...

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Thread: Bob Lee Swagger and his improvised IV

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    Member Array Tutapper's Avatar
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    Bob Lee Swagger and his improvised IV

    I've been browsing a recent thread "First aid supplies for gunshot wounds." It caused me to think about Bob Lee Swagger.

    Remember the movie "Shooter" with Mark Wahlberg as an ex-Marine sniper framed for trying to shoot the President? In it, he is shot in the thorax and if memory serves, in the left thigh. He self administers first aid from a bag he gets from the trunk of an FBI vehicle. Later he improvises an IV from things he gets at a convenience store.

    This question is aimed (sorry, bad pun - trying to be humorous) at Limatunes, skysoldier29, DoctorBob, hopyard, and bark'n. Apologies in advance to QKshooter, "...rather grit my teeth...", but I am curious. Could ya'll expound on the reasons he does what he does? Could you explain his procedures, materials, and so on? I've always marveled at him making his own IV. How did he do that? Why did he do that?

    And BTW, I'm glad Sara, the girlfriend, shot that greasy, mercenary, presumed rapist, ******* on the snowy ridge.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tutapper View Post
    I've been browsing a recent thread "First aid supplies for gunshot wounds." It caused me to think about Bob Lee Swagger.

    Remember the movie "Shooter" with Mark Wahlberg as an ex-Marine sniper framed for trying to shoot the President? In it, he is shot in the thorax and if memory serves, in the left thigh. He self administers first aid from a bag he gets from the trunk of an FBI vehicle. Later he improvises an IV from things he gets at a convenience store.

    This question is aimed (sorry, bad pun - trying to be humorous) at Limatunes, skysoldier29, DoctorBob, hopyard, and bark'n. Apologies in advance to QKshooter, "...rather grit my teeth...", but I am curious. Could ya'll expound on the reasons he does what he does? Could you explain his procedures, materials, and so on? I've always marveled at him making his own IV. How did he do that? Why did he do that?

    And BTW, I'm glad Sara, the girlfriend, shot that greasy, mercenary, presumed rapist, ******* on the snowy ridge.
    Well, I'm not on your list, however, I will make this comment. Remember the part where he tears open the quik-clot packet with his teeth before he dumps the granules on top of his wound? That should tell you all you need to know about the medical knowledge of people who came up with his procedures and materials.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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    Member Array Tutapper's Avatar
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    There is a video on youtube showing an anesthetized pig given a wound to its femoral artery. Blood gushes into the body cavity. Doctor dumps Quick Clot into the wound. Almost instantaneously, the blood it clotted and the wound stops bleeding. Doctor irrigates the Quick Clot out of the body cavity. Bleeding stopped. To paraphrase Sue Ellen Ewing, can I not believe my lying eyes?

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    You have to remember that first of all... It was a movie!

    That aside, the stuff he poured into his shoulder wound that he got from the FBI's first aid kit was QuikClot. QuikClot is what is referred to as a hemostatic agent, which helps promote clotting of blood in wounds which are hemorrhaging, which in turn helps to stem the flow of blood and keep you from bleeding to death. You still have to apply direct pressure to the wound but hemostatic agents do work quite well and have received rave reviews from the battlefield.

    The reason he was grimacing when he put it in the wound is because the original formulation Quikclot had a exothermic reaction when it comes in contact with water, which is a major component of blood. When you applied the Quikclot to a wound, the temperature would increase to up to 110 degrees and become somewhat painful, causing second degree burns. Quikclot has since been redesigned and no longer has the exothermic reaction when applied.

    There are several hemostatic agents on the market such as Quikclot, Celox, Chitogauze, Hemcon, Traumadex and others. They have been used during surgery for years to help control bleeding in the operating room during surgery and recently gained popularity as first aid treatment of uncontrolled hemorrhage on the battlefield in the military. Used with great success and little side effects, it is now available commercially and without a prescription. All of the hemostatic agents have a shelf life of about 3 - 5 years depending on the product, and are relatively expensive so one has to weigh the real benefit of having it in their first aid kits vs. the likelihood of actually using it.

    I have used traumadex and celox on several different occasions on arterial bleeds while working on the ambulance. However, true uncontrollable arterial bleeds are relatively rare in the civilian setting and we spend more money restocking expired Celox than what we use on the ambulance. What we use now is Combat Gauze which is like a roll of Kerlex made which is impregnated with the hemostatic agent Kaolin. It's also about $40-$45 for a single roll of it, compared to about $1 for a single roll of Kerlex roller gauze.

    His homemade IV solution if I remember correctly was a homemade solution of glucose and salt water. IV's are helpful for all kinds of illnesses and injuries. It can help replace volume to the circulatory system when you have had major fluid loss either from hemorrhage, vomiting or diarrhea. However, it does not replace blood. Hemaglobin, which is a component of blood is what carries oxygen in the blood which is used by every cell in the body. So, IV's can keep the "pump" (heart) from running dry and cavitating, but IV solutions does not carry oxygen, which all the cells in the body need.

    However, IV solutions composed of varying amounts of glucose, salts, minerals and such help with electrolyte replacement and can make a person feel much more "perky" and improved when they have had a lot of fluid loss. People who become dehydrated from fluid loss, vomiting, diarrhea, flu or other such things as when the body has been "stressed" often benefits immensely from IV fluid therapy.

    Yes, you can make your own IV solutions, but it's not as simple and quick as what was portrayed in the movie. (Let's not lose sight of the fact that it was "a movie," made for entertainment purposes). Other things to consider when using homemade IV's and using makeshift equipment like turkey basters, turkey injector needles and rubber tubing from a hardware store is the fact that none of these items are sterile, and you have a very high risk of getting a serious systemic infection that could become life threatening in very short order, thus defeating your whole intentions of making a homemade IV in the first place.

    It was a cool movie though!
    Pkupmn98, limatunes, sgb and 4 others like this.
    -Bark'n
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    And Bark'n pretty much summed it all up!

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    Other things to consider when using homemade IV's and using makeshift equipment like turkey basters, turkey injector needles and rubber tubing from a hardware store is the fact that none of these items are sterile, and you have a very high risk of getting a serious systemic infection that could become life threatening in very short order, thus defeating your whole intentions of making a homemade IV in the first place.
    Actually, I think it's highly unlikely anyone making a non-sterile, do it yourself iv, including iv fluids, would NOT develop an overwhelming blood stream infection (sepsis) and die in short order. Yes, you're right, it is Hollywood.

    I'm a BIG fan of Stephen Hunter's novels, especially the Bob Lee Swagger series. In fact, I reread the Bob Lee Swagger series from the beginning to "Point of Impact" (the book "The Shooter" was based on) in preparation to see the movie. After the movie came out and I started reading about all the changes from the book to the movie, I got frustrated and never saw the movie. "Point of Impact" was my second favorite book in the series w/ "Time to Hunt" being my favorite.

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    Thanks bark'n for the excellent explanation. I learned a lot. I work as an unarmed security officer and have had a need for some basic first aid knowledge twice over the past year. I'm enrolled in a basic first aid course at our local Red Cross chapter for later this month. I'm on a wait list for a CPR/AED class at our local YWCA also later this month. BTW my employer is not encouraging me to get this training. I think they are worried about insurance and liability issues.

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    I forgot to insert a link to the manufacturer of QuikClot in my post above. For information on QuikClot and the development of it, how it works and all that, check out ZMedica who are the manufacturer of QuikClot.

    If you or anyone are looking for some good suppliers of medical gear for your personal kits I highly recommend the following sources. I have bought from all of them before on a personal basis, as well as our ambulance service uses a couple of these suppliers. Keep in mind, a lot of items at these vendors are restricted to medical professionals, and as such cannot be ordered without a prescription from a physician. However all these suppliers do sell to the general public.

    Chinook Medical Gear

    Rescue Essentials


    North American Rescue

    Galls Public Safety

    Moore Medical

    Bound Tree Medical Bound Tree recently bought out Allmed/Alliance Medical so while Allmed's website is still up and running, Bound Tree is now filling all their old orders. Therefore I didn't include Allmed's hyperlink. Allmed used to be our main EMS supplier since they were based in Missouri.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tutapper View Post
    There is a video on youtube showing an anesthetized pig given a wound to its femoral artery. Blood gushes into the body cavity. Doctor dumps Quick Clot into the wound. Almost instantaneously, the blood it clotted and the wound stops bleeding. Doctor irrigates the Quick Clot out of the body cavity. Bleeding stopped. To paraphrase Sue Ellen Ewing, can I not believe my lying eyes?
    No, quik-clot will stop bleeding. However, when it comes in contact with water (or saliva), it starts activating. So tearing the package open with your mouth is a big no-no.

    Second, you have to pour it down into the wound in order for it to work, and pack it down in there. He just poured it on top, and that magically fixed it.

    BARK'N provided an excellent post about quik-clot, refer to that.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
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    Senior Member Array highvoltage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tutapper View Post
    .....I'm on a wait list for a CPR/AED class at our local YWCA also later this month. BTW my employer is not encouraging me to get this training. I think they are worried about insurance and liability issues.
    I find that interesting. I would have thought the opposite. As a corporation we're encouraged to have a small handful of people trained in CPR and AED. I was trained years ago and have used CPR twice in my lifetime. It's good to know you tried to help, but traumatic when it doesn't work out in the end.

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    I'l add a couple things to this very thoroughly and well addressed topic. IV fluids must be administered at three to four times the amount of blood lost to compensate for hypovolemia. Even then, they do NOT carry oxygen to the tissues. Thus they will replace the VOLUME of blood lost but not the RED BLOOD CELLS and HEMOGLOBIN that carry oxygen to nourish the body. Further, maintaining volume artificially elevates the blood pressure in a traumatic injury, causing an increase of blood loss, requiring further fluid replacement, and further limiting oxygenation of the tissues. It's a deadly cycle. Our treatment goals in the field are to maintain the blood pressure at around 90-100 to perfuse the brain while limiting blood loss. External bleeding can often be controlled, internal bleeding less so. Hemostatic agents are nice for those rare injuries that are still bleeding when we arrive on scene, but do not respond to traditional methods such as direct pressure, elevation, arterial pressure point and tourniquet. I am not aware of any 911 ambulances in the USA that carry blood or blood products. There have been disappointing trials of artificial hemoglobin IV fluids. Administering blood or blood products is too risky in the field. The ambulance would need to be set up with certain specialized lab equipment and have stringently controlled temperature stable storage containers. The Paramedics would need specialized training and extra medications. Reactions to blood and blood products are not pretty and can be difficult to manage. The gold standard for trauma care is still a Level 1 trauma center which is staffed 24/7 with trauma surgeons and all the ancillary staff necessary for proper care. When a patient goes into a trauma center, there are about 20 people there to provide care. Surgery can be started right there in the ED trauma bay. When we have a bad trauma, the best medicine we have available is diesel and aviation fuel. Lastly, there's more in a bag of Normal Saline than salt and water. It's those other ingredients that can be quite important, like the preservatives. There have been a few times in my career when I had unexpired IV fluids that looked like an unkept aquarium with lots of cloudy floaters because the preservatives didn't do their job.
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    I always wondered why he made the effort to sterilize the needle but was pushing the solution through a piece of used radiator over flow tubing that he ripped off of a parked truck.

    I Know, it's just a movie! But Sheesh!

    BTW, I loved the movie and now that I know it was based on a series of books, I'll be picking them up.

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    Sepsis, phlebitis....


    And the book was better.
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    There is a video online. com showing an anesthetized pig given a injure to its femoral artery. System gushes into our bodies hole. Physician places Fast Clog into the injure. Almost instantly, the blood it clotted and the injure stops swelling. Physician irrigates the Fast Clog out of our bodies hole. Bleeding stopped. In other words Sue Ellen Ewing, can I not believe my lying eyes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaCrawford View Post
    There is a video online. com showing an anesthetized pig given a injure to its femoral artery. System gushes into our bodies hole. Physician places Fast Clog into the injure. Almost instantly, the blood it clotted and the injure stops swelling. Physician irrigates the Fast Clog out of our bodies hole. Bleeding stopped. In other words Sue Ellen Ewing, can I not believe my lying eyes?
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