6 Life Saving Techniques From the Movies (That Can Kill You)

#3. "He's having a seizure! Wedge something in his mouth so he doesn't swallow his tongue!"

As Seen On:

ER, M.A.S.H., Alien

According to Hollywood:

Take Joe Fictional, your average everyday ferret juggler.

One day he is minding his own fictitious business, presumably while juggling ferrets, when he catches a glimpse of a Pokemon episode out of the corner of his eye and goes into a brain-detonating seizure. The people around him have only seconds to force some object, like a wooden spoon or one of his smaller ferrets, into his mouth to keep him from swallowing his own tongue and choking to death.

Joe spasms and struggles, but thanks to the gallant efforts of those around him his airway is kept free from any tongue-shaped obstructions and his life is saved. Except for the whole seizure thing, he might still die from that.

The Wrongness:

While we would all appreciate a good excuse to ram random objects into strangers' mouths, it turns out that it's medically impossible to swallow your own tongue. So all that stuff you did to help that seizing man in Wal-Mart was technically sexual assault.

It's true that a seizure victim's jaw clenches during a seizure, and that could potentially result in some damage to the tongue, but all of that is small potatoes compared to the injury inflicted by pinning the person down and prying their mouths open to shove something between their teeth.

The human jaw is He-Man strong, and when it involuntarily shuts, it can and fucking should remain that way. Trying to force it open can easily cause mechanical damage to the teeth, the gums, the tongue or your own fingers. Worse yet, having a person bite down on something during a seizure can potentially block their airway and suffocate them, which you may remember as the thing you were trying to prevent in the first place.

Really, unless you are a trained EMT the only thing you should do is protect the victim's head and wait for the ambulance to arrive.

"...why are there chunks of ferret in this man's mouth?"

#2. Stopping Bleeding with a Tourniquet

As Seen On:

M.A.S.H., Die Hard, Jurassic Park, Many Cop Shows

According to Hollywood:

Following TV logic, when someone gets stabbed or shot and starts spraying blood like a soda fountain, the first course of action is to tear off strips of your own shirt and expose a glistening set of abdominal muscles. Next, you take the strips of your shirt and tie them tightly above the leaking wound, producing a make-shift tourniquet that stops the rampant blood flow and keeps the victim alive. If the victim is a blonde, your reward shall be boobies.

The Wrongness:

The problem with using a tourniquet to keep a wound from bleeding out is that cutting off the blood from other parts of the body to the injured area is sort of like blowing up the city's Water Works because you can't get the faucet in your kitchen to stop leaking: It's a bit drastic and someone will probably die because of it.

Applying a tourniquet to a bleeding limb should be the last, most desperate measure you could possibly take. Cutting off circulation to an area of the body can lead to necrotic tissue, a phrase which sounds like "zombie" because it means "your skin dies, rots and has to be amputated." And trust us, no matter how perfectly sculpted your abs might be, causing a girl to lose a body part is pretty much the ultimate turn-off.

The best course of action is to apply pressure directly to the wound with a piece of cloth or gauze while speeding the victim to a goddamn hospital. Tourniquets really only work when you've already lost a body part, because they cut off circulation and therefore keep blood from flowing through your ragged stump and out of your body.

#1. "He's been shot! We have to get the bullet out!"

As Seen On:

ER, M.A.S.H., Every Action Movie Ever

According to Hollywood:

Watching movies you would think most bullets were full of radioactive poison, seeing as how fast the fictional doctors try to pluck them out. Someone gets shot and before their body even hits the ground, five different medics appear and start digging around the wound before the hero's life can slip away.

The wrongness:

As it turns out, you should leave the bullets where they are. When fired, bullets become very hot, so hot in fact that by the time they lodge themselves deep inside 50 Cent, they are completely sterile and pose no infection risk whatsoever. However they might be pressing on some vital blood vessels which could easily be severed by a removal attempt, and as we pointed out earlier, you kind of need blood to live.

If you don't want bullets floating around inside your body for the rest of your life, you can opt for a procedure to remove them somewhere down the line, but it's rarely an on the spot priority.

Interestingly enough, some scholars believe that both Presidents Garfield and McKinley could have survived their assassinations if the damn doctors hadn't gone poking around in their executive abdomens with dirty instruments and unwashed hands looking for bullets to remove. And when Teddy Roosevelt got shot in the chest he refused to have the piece of metal extracted, a decision which probably saved his life.

The bullet later descended into a third testicle.

You can read more of Cezary's stuff at DrownYourself.com

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Check out what else Hollywood has wrong, in 5 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do. Or find out why you should think twice about having sex on that stallion while riding along the beach, in 9 Awesome Places to Have Sex (And the Horrific Consequences).

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