TEACHING THE COMMUNITY TO SAVE LIVES IN A CRISIS
A life-threatening injury can happen anywhere. When it does, the closest help is almost always a bystander — whether it’s a friend, a family member or a complete stranger.
In January 2017, University Health System launched Stop the Bleed — a communitywide effort to train people how to control bleeding in an emergency, developed by the American College of Surgeons.
The free 90-minute class teaches the basic skills needed to stop major blood loss until EMS arrives.
“It’s not designed to make everyone a trauma surgeon,” said Dr. Brian Eastridge, trauma medical director at University Hospital and professor of surgery at UT Health San Antonio. “It’s designed to give everyone, regardless of your skill level, regardless of your profession, information on how to stop bleeding.”
And while keeping a first aid kit containing gloves, gauze and a good tourniquet in your car trunk or backpack is helpful, Dr. Eastridge said people should know “simple ways to manage bleeding, even with the tools you have at hand — even if you have no special tools.”
THE ABCS OF STOP THE BLEED ARE:
A — Alert (call 9-11 for help, or get someone
nearby to do so)
B — Bleeding (find the source and determine if
C — Compress (apply pressure to the wound. This can involve using gauze or cloth — a T-shirt or towel will do if necessary — and applying pressure with both hands, packing an open wound or using a tourniquet if appropriate)
The course shows how to recognize if a wound is serious, the proper techniques to pack an open wound or use a tourniquet, and other lifesaving skills. Members of the trauma team offer free classes at University Hospital on the first Monday of every month, as well as special courses — including an April class with more than 100 Northside Independent School District nurses. Community organizations, churches, schools and businesses can request a trainer to come to their location to teach the course to groups. These sessions can be requested online at StopTheBleedTx.org.
The campaign also works to make trauma first aid kits more available to individuals and in public buildings. These kits often contain a recommended tourniquet, hemostatic or regular gauze, protective gloves and other items.
University Health System developed the program locally in partnership with the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council.