License to Heal

John Rambo, Jason Bourne, and James Bond: all three conjure up images of unmatched skill and knowhow. They can fight with any weapon, drive any vehicle and overcome incredible odds stacked against them. Unfortunate, then that they seem to have been sick with the man-flu when Action Hero Class went over medical training. How else can you explain these professional warriors and spies struggling to save the people they love most?

For example:

John Rambo: Rambo First Blood 2

Co, Rambo’s sultry escort, is excited to leave the jungle with him after their mission is accomplished to start a life together in America. She is suddenly shot multiple times in her chest and back by their pursuers. Rambo promptly applies the TCCC adage “Superior Firepower is the Best Medicine”. Unfortunately, after Rambo demonstrates his prowess with a machine gun, she is still injured. She looks longingly into his eyes struggling to breathe, utters a few short gasping sentences, and dies in his arms.

Jason Bourne: The Bourne Supremacy

Marie, Jason Bourne’s lady friend, is driving along with him when she is unexpectedly shot by their nemeses through the vehicle’s rear window. She is shot in what appears to be her shoulder or back as we see no sign of exit wound from her head or damage to the windshield. They plummet off a bridge into the water below. Jason Bourne then drags her from the vehicle and gives her life saving kisses. Realizing they are ineffective (who knew?), he lets her sink to the bottom forever.

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James Bond: Skyfall

M, James Bond’s boss and one of the more famous Bond characters, succumbs to what appears to be a gunshot wound to the upper thigh during an assault on Skyfall. Although not an egregious injury, she is able to escape to the nearby church on foot and wait for the film’s climactic scene some 20-40 minutes later. She then carries on entire conversations with both Bond and the main bad guy Silva before collapsing dramatically from blood loss and dies in Bond’s arms. Cue tears.

These men, trained in every imaginable thing from driving a tank to hacking a computer, missed out on basic lifesaving techniques taught in our military’s basic training— techniques also covered in our classes around the country. HABCDE; Hemorrhage, Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Da Brain and Expose/Environment. Each one is broken down into specific treatments and lifesaving techniques in class. Looking at the examples above, would a chest seal have saved Co and Marie? Perhaps a hemostatic agent or direct pressure to M’s injury could have kept her alive? If you don’t recognize these terms, or still think tourniquets are a bad idea, it’s time to take a medical class. It may not be “tacticool" or Instagram selfie-worthy to learn these techniques, but you bet these high speed action heroes wish they’d taken the time. Be “medicool” instead- get that training, carry a medkit, and earn your “license to heal”.