Equipping Civilians on How to “Stop the Bleed” One Training at a Time

By Jade Waddy

In 2018, Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital partnered with area trauma care providers to provide free bleeding control training to more than 1,300 people throughout the Greater Houston area.

“It is important for those who are on scene first or those who witness an event to be properly trained on how to stop bleeding in emergency situations,” said Sarah Beth Abbott, injury prevention and outreach education coordinator with Red Duke Trauma Institute. “The Stop the Bleed course is designed to empower civilians to be effective immediate responders when addressing life-threatening blood loss.”

School nurses and school personnel, law enforcement members, first responders and local businesses, such as the Houston Zoo and media organizations were among those trained to address the leading cause of preventable trauma death in the United States. The free training, part of Stop the Bleed, was also made available to members of the general public.

In a continuing effort to save lives, Red Duke Trauma Institute and Children’s Memorial Hermann have partnered again with area trauma care providers to offer adults in the Greater Houston area with five free Stop the Bleed courses on Saturday, May 18.

The courses provide registrants with basic bleeding control knowledge and wound-packing and tourniquet application training.

Taking Initiative to Address a National Problem

Trauma occurs every 4 seconds in the United States and is the leading cause of death between the ages of 1 and 46. Forty percent of deaths within the first 24 hours of a traumatic injury are from uncontrolled bleeding.

Stop the Bleed is a national initiative and awareness campaign launched to educate and train first responders and civilians to recognize and appropriately stop life-threatening bleeding.

Motivated by the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, the Stop the Bleed initiative was launched in 2015 by The Hartford Consensus supported by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Working with First Responders and Schools

Firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and police officers are often among the first to offer pre-hospital care to those with serious injuries. Memorial Hermann works closely with first responders to enhance trauma care interventions outside of the hospital.

Last year, Memorial Hermann Life Flight® nurses trained the Houston Police Department Helicopter Division on proper tourniquet use. The Red Duke Trauma Institute and Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital Ginni and Richard Mithoff Trauma Center joined with the Houston Fire Department to produce a training video emphasizing when and how to appropriately apply a tourniquet to control life- and limb-threatening blood loss until a person can be treated at a hospital. The video was incorporated into HFD training for more than 4,000 first responders.

Earlier this year, Memorial Hermann trained employees at the Houston Zoo and athletic trainers and school nurses from Pearland Independent School District.

Paying the Knowledge Forward to Everyday Heroes

Bleeding control kits – which contain trauma shears, approved combat application tourniquets (CAT), bandages, gauze and protective gloves – will have an increased presence alongside emergency response items like automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in the near future.

“One key to successfully rolling out Stop The Bleed to our community is distributing bleeding control kits to the general public and empowering them to provide immediate care,” Abbott said. “Traumatic injuries can occur anywhere at any time. Knowing how to use these bleeding control kits and having one nearby could save a life.”

The availability of bleeding control kits is a giant step in addressing preventable trauma deaths. To maximize effectiveness of the kits, people must be aware they exist and trained on how to use them.

Union Pacific Community Ties Giving Program recently donated funds to purchase individual bleeding control kits for distribution in to the community. Bailey Elementary School in Pasadena was the first recipient of the individual bleeding control kits, which were distributed after the entire school’s staff, faculty and paraprofessionals underwent training.

On a quest to train more

Abbott wants to increase the number of people trained and the number of qualified people leading bleeding control training courses in the hopes of exponentially expanding the impact of Stop the Bleed in Houston. The upcoming Stop the Bleed courses are part of that effort. 

“Over the last two years, we’ve made great progress with providing training in the Houston area,” Abbott said. “My hope is that we can continue to train more community groups and the public so that everyone is equipped with lifesaving knowledge on bleeding control.”

Each offering of the course lasts two hours and focuses on the immediate response to bleeding, how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and the appropriate ways to stop the bleeding.

To register for the May 18 course visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stop-the-bleed-bleeding-control-basic-course-training-for-the-general-public-registration-59958723155

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