Can a arterial bleed be stopped by putting your finger/s in it? Like the one in your leg or a place where pressure can't be placed normally?


1 Answer 1


Putting your fingers in a wound is going to inflict severe pain on the casualty. There are ways you can apply direct pressure on an arterial wound, even if it is on the upper thigh.

It is possible to apply pressure to any sort of external bleeding, and sticking your finger inside an arterial wound is not really going to help. The casualty might survive the bleeding but then die because of blood poisoning/severe infections later on which can be introduced by inserting objects such as a finger. You should never do this.

It is known that a tourniquet can be used to stem the flow of blood but this too can cause more harm than not. If left on too long it can kill the limb and lead to the need for amputation due to lack of blood supply to the extremities.

If there's an object in the wound

If there’s an object in there, don’t pull it out, because it may be acting as a plug reducing the bleeding. Instead, leave it in and apply pressure either side of it with a pad (such as a clean cloth) or fingers, until a sterile dressing is available. In which case, again apply the sterile dressing around the object. Don't apply pressure to the object.

If there's no object in the wound

Follow the steps below for treating severe bleeding.

  1. Press it: apply direct pressure to the wound
  2. Call 999/112 for emergency help (call 911 in the US)
  3. Firmly secure dressing with a bandage
  4. Treat for shock
  5. Raise and Support the injured part


St. John Ambulance
British Red Cross

  • 1
    Maybe point out that it's possible to apply pressure to any sort of bleeding and sticking your finger inside an artery is both impossible and not really helping. You might survive the bleeding and die because of blood poisoning/severe infections later on. That you should never do this doesn't come across as strongly in your post.
    – Narusan
    Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 8:22
  • 1
    I don't dispute your answer, but I know of an incident where a paramedic sealed a carotid puncture wound by sticking her finger in it and keeping it there all the way to the surgical suite. Apparently it was impossible to stem by direct pressure so she resorted to the last option available. Pt survived to discharge.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 1:52
  • @CareyGregory - I had not thought about the Carotid Artery. Of course applying too much pressure there could obstruct the casualty's airway. In this situation it is an exception to the norm and would be a case of what is best for maintaining life. I would still stand by my answer as "first do no harm" is always to be kept in mind. Risking possible infections where you cannot justify the reason for risky practices is opening yourself up to a possible law suit. Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 7:45

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