Just like CPR and stroke awareness, knowing how to identify and stop the bleeding that accompanies traumatic injuries is a valuable life skill and could help you save a life. Traumatic injuries are the leading cause of death for people one to 46 years old, according to the National Trauma Institute. Stopthebleedday.org, a website that brings together students and instructors for a day of free Stop the Bleed training, writes that the top cause of trauma death is bleeding and that 20% of people who have died from traumatic injuries could have survived if they had received quick bleeding control.
"A person can die from blood loss within minutes," said Mike Mixson, Trauma Services Director at Medical City McKinney. "But if a bystander is familiar with how to control the bleeding until first responders arrive, they can save a person's life."
That could be a sizeable number when you consider that in 2014, the CDC reported nearly 27 million people landed in the ER with injuries and 2.5 million were hospitalized. The official BleedingControl.org website, initiated by the American College of Surgeons and its partners, writes that trauma victims can bleed to death very quickly "” within five to 10 minutes. That's why an injured person's best chance of survival often hinges on the actions of another person involved in the incident or a bystander.
Stop the bleed and save a life.
"The people who are going to be able to render aid are the ones that are there," echoed Jennifer Turner, Trauma Program Manager at Medical City Lewisville. Shortly after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Turner was interviewed by NBC5 for her expertise on emergency first aid.
You can search for a Stop the Bleed class at BleedingControl.org or check with your local hospital to find out if they are hosting any bleeding control classes. Here are the basic steps to stop the bleed, which will be expanded on and practiced in a class.
- Safety first:
- Get yourself and the injured person to safety
- Call 911 or ask another person to make the call
- Determine where the person is bleeding
- Apply firm, steady pressure with hands
- Apply a pressure dressing (pack the wound)
- Pack the wound with gauze, a piece of clothing or other material and wrap extra material around the wound; press firmly
- Apply one or more tourniquets as needed
- Tourniquets can only be applied to arms and legs
- Place the first one 2 to 3 inches closer to the torso than the bleeding
- Tourniquets can be applied over clothing
- If bleeding continues, place a second tourniquet 2 to 3 inches above the first
Stop the Bleed kits and supplies.
Similar to having a first-aid kit or jumper cables in your car, you may want to keep a bleeding control kit there as well. Or in your office, classroom or even your purse. You can purchase Stop the Bleed's official bleeding control kits in singles or larger units or assemble one of your own using the same high-quality products. STB kits contain:
- Bleeding control instructional booklet
- C-A-T tourniquet (brand recommended by trauma medics)
- QuikClot® Bleeding Control Dressing
- Mini Sharpie marker
- 1 pair protective gloves
- Compression bandage
Always call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.
For expert care in any emergency situation, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.