When practicing, learning or testing it’s important that we try to make our injuries or illnesses as realistic as possible. A simple piece of tape that says “wound here” will not help prepare the prehospital provider with an understanding of real life scenarios.
One of the first lessons, in our first classes (beyond Scene Safe, BSI) is the S in Sample history. S stands for Signs (things that we see) and Symptoms (things that the patient tells us). When we first approach a scene, besides checking for safety (I’m trying to enforce a point), we look for signs of the Mechanism of Injury or Nature of Illness. We are looking for blood, deformities, skin color etc. from a distance. But, as we practice we see a hopefully healthy pretend patient without injury and an ambiguous MOI. This presentation cannot help us determine our treatment plan or prepare us for the gore that we may see in a real life scenario. This is where Moulage comes in.
Moulage is a French word that roughly means casting or molding. Moulage, as it applies to us is the application of makeup and prosthesis’ to simulate injuries or skin appearance for training prehospital medical care. By taking the time to prepare before a scenario the student or refreshing technician can better visualize the specific signs that you wish to portray.
Moulage is an artform! There are professional makeup artists employed in Hollywood that make the injuries look real. I do not suspect that any of will have the skill or the budget to make entirely realistic injuries, but with a little practice we can come close.
There are a number of sites on the internet that can give great suggestions to make specific injuries and specific makeup techniques. This video, while long does a very comprehensive job of passing on techniques. I’d also like to present a few other sites with specific “how to” instructions.
Before you look, please be aware that some of these are quite visual and will leave you grossed out thinking “This IS real.”