Letter Re: Questions on Blood Clotting Agents

As a hobby machinist, I spent some time prowling sites catering to the hobby. Did, when I was out of work for a while and had the time. A most interesting reference showed up on several “foreign” sites. (Outside the u.s.)

Posters were recommending the chemical Ferric Chloride as a coagulant. According to the texts, it would stop heavy bleeding on contact. Presumably, it chemically cauterized the wound. I have spilled it into minor scrapes, by accident. It felt like a cautery iron, or worse.

I lack knowledge of biochemistry. But I am aware that both iron and chlorides are present in blood. That’s why it’s so corrosive to my machines. The busted knuckle syndrome. Perhaps it simply coagulates open bleeding quickly.

So, the questions posed are thus:
1) Is Ferric Chloride truly a good coagulant?
2) What is the optimum dilution (percentage)?
3) At what dilution does it lose effectiveness?

I write to ask you to pose these to your regular readers. There appears to be a wide knowledge base in your readership. I am hoping there are some knowledgeable in the subject.

Ferric Chloride is available at Radio Shack as an etchant for making circuit boards. The purity is not really what I would ask for in First Aid. But when one is bleeding severely. Any port in a storm, so to speak.

Obviously, such treatment should not be used on spurting wounds, or sucking chest wounds. But as a shop treatment? A lathe or table saw can take a finger, or a hand, faster than it can be said. – Bill H., Birmingham, Alabama

JWR Replies: Your question goes far beyond my expertise. Perhaps some of the doctors that read SurvivalBlog would care to comment. I’d also appreciate their comments on commercially available clotting agents for treating trauma.