Health Direct - Summer 2018 - 14
IN THE COMMUNITY
'Stop the Bleed' Training
Could Save Lives
By John Berggren
aline County sheriff's deputies and Salina police
officers are often first to respond to the scene of
an accident or crime. For that reason, they need to
understand how the steps they take when encountering a bleeding victim could potentially save a life.
In February, these officers were trained by members of
Salina Regional Health Center's trauma program using a
national curriculum sponsored by the American College of
Surgeons called "Stop the Bleed." The course was developed in response to knowledge about how many deaths
occur during mass shootings because of uncontrolled bleeding. The hospital plans to offer this training to the general
public in the future.
"We decided to start with law enforcement, because
while everyone is running away from danger and traumatic
situations, they're running to them," says Rachelle Giroux,
RN, director for trauma, stroke and chest pain accreditation
at Salina Regional.
Once a scene is secured, officers were taught to look
for signs of life-threatening bleeding, including gushing or
pooling blood. Life-threatening wounds to the arms and legs
are the most common and also the most preventable areas
of uncontrolled bleeding-related death.
Bleeding arm and leg wounds are most easily controlled
using a tourniquet, placed as high up on the arm or leg as
possible to cut off blood flow to the wound site. Junctional
wounds, which include the neck, shoulder and groin areas,
require packing the wound with gauze or cloth and applying
direct pressure. Wounds to the chest or abdomen can only
be treated in an operating room.
Time is always critical when life-threatening bleeding
"When a major artery of the arm or leg is severed, someone could bleed to death in as little as 3 to 5 minutes," says
Jake Breeding, M.D., trauma medical director at Salina
Regional. "But many of these types of life-threatening injuries can be controlled with direct pressure or the proper use
of a tourniquet."
As part of the training, officers practiced placing tourniquets on each other and packing wounds and applying
direct pressure on mannequins.
"If a tourniquet or direct pressure is properly applied, it's
going to hurt," Breeding told the officers. "If someone can
feel pain, that means they're alive. You'd always rather have
bruises or marks on arms or legs than someone bleeding
Saline County Undersheriff Brent Melander says the
training could save a life.
"All of our patrol deputies carry a trauma kit in their
vehicles that includes a tourniquet and gauze for packing wounds so that we have some tools on hand when a
traumatic traffic accident, stabbing or shooting occurs,"
Melander says. "This training only enhances our ability to
respond to these types of scenarios."
Police officers are often right in the middle of traumatic situations, Salina Police Department Captain Mike
"We often put ourselves in situations medics can't get
to," Sweeney says. "For victims and our own fellow officers
who become injured, this training could be vital." 1
Jake Breeding, M.D., Salina Regional trauma medical
director, advises Saline County sheriff's deputies on the
proper application of a tourniquet.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Health Direct - Summer 2018
Health Direct - Summer 2018 - 1
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