Would you know what to do if you witnessed someone with life-threatening, uncontrolled bleeding? The Department of Homeland Security’s “Stop the Bleed” campaign aims to equip you with this knowledge. Initiated earlier this year, the “Stop the Bleed” campaign teaches police officers, emergency medical services (EMS) and the general community about the proper application and benefits of tourniquets.
Initially, the campaign began following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting with the “primary principle that no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding.” According to the campaign, community members can be effective “immediate responders” if given access to “training and the basic equipment necessary to address life-threatening hemorrhage.”
The Level I trauma center at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas adopted this program in early July 2016, shortly after the Dallas police shooting.
“It’s not just the gunshot wound,” said Michael Foreman, MD, trauma director at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. “It’s someone who trips and falls at home and breaks a glass table and has a large laceration. People still bleed to death from that. These are areas that we hope to be able to make a difference.”
Uncontrolled bleeding accounts for roughly 35 percent of mortality before victims can arrive at a hospital.
Uncontrolled bleeding accounts for roughly 35 percent of mortality before victims can arrive at a hospital. In fact, a person can bleed to death in less than five minutes if the bleeding is uncontrolled. Usually, this happens before EMS arrive, increasing the need for bystanders to be trained and knowledgeable on tourniquet use and application. Of patients who arrive with tourniquets applied, application is often incorrect and inadequate.
As part of the Trauma Injury Prevention Program at Baylor University Medical Center, medical staff trained more than 730 Dallas, DART and Baylor Scott & White Health officers through a two-hour course. With funding from the trauma department and Baylor Health Care System Foundation, the department also purchased 315 tourniquets for the entire DART police force and is in the process of purchasing 100 “Stop the Bleed” kits to place on AEDs at most Dallas police departments.
The “Stop the Bleed” program also recently expanded its instructor criteria to include nurses, doctors, paramedics and trained police officers in an effort to increase its outreach.
“A lot of it is not complicated,” said Karen Mynar, injury prevention coordinator at the trauma center at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. “It’s just being told once or shown once so you can have the empowerment to do something so you don’t feel helpless in a bad situation.”
“A lot of it is not complicated. It’s just being told once or shown once so you can have the empowerment to do something.”
Plans are also underway to make an online course available for all Baylor Dallas employees and the general community. Outside of Dallas, community trainings are also being conducted throughout the Baylor Scott & White system.
“Our hope as a trauma center and injury prevention program is to adequately equip our first responders, whether EMS, police or bystanders, with the tools and education needed to respond to a bleeding emergency in the field,” said Nakia Rapier, MSN, trauma program manager at Baylor Dallas. “In doing so, our hope is to drastically decrease the number of deaths we see each year at our trauma center from uncontrolled bleeding emergencies.”
If you would like to make a donation to support Stop The Bleed trainings, visit the Baylor Health Care System Foundation website.
About the author
Evan is Supervisor of the Trauma Research Center at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas’ Level I Trauma Center. She graduated from Baylor University and completed her master’s thesis with the trauma department, before becoming a member of the team in 2014. She is currently working on her PhD in Health Studies at TWU.