Hesperian Health Guides
Chest Wounds and Broken Ribs
Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
Many broken ribs (flail chest)
- Tape a thick pad, or folded piece of clothing over the broken ribs.
- Lay the person in whatever position best helps them breathe.
- Watch for signs of shock and get help.
Deep chest wounds
A gunshot, stab wound, explosion, or badly broken rib can cause air to leak in and out of the lungs.
- Immediately cover the opening with anything airtight, like a bandage covered in petroleum jelly, a folded plastic bag, or a banana leaf.
- Tape only 3 sides so air can get out but not get in.
- Lay the person in whatever position best helps them breathe. Get help.