Helping Bexar County school districts be as prepared as possible in the event a student, teacher or staff member is seriously injured and suffering blood loss was the goal of a 2019 University Health Foundation project to provide bleeding control kits for schools and Stop the Bleed training to district personnel.
Stop the Bleed is a national campaign developed by the American College of Surgeons aimed at teaching everybody basic bleeding control techniques, as a person can bleed to death before emergency services personnel can arrive on the scene of a serious injury. With a little training and tools, a bystander can become a lifesaver.
“The number one cause of preventable death from trauma is uncontrolled bleeding,” said Tracy Cotner-Pouncy, senior director of Trauma Services at University Health. “There is nothing more tragic than a death that could have been prevented.”
The school initiative was announced at the University Health Foundation’s 2019 Medical Miracles Gala in May. Attendees heard the powerful story of how a community came together following the mass casualty shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in 2017. Inspired by the stories of two of the survivors of this tragedy – 34-year-old Kris Workman and 5-year-old Ryland Ward, they gave from their hearts in support of this initiative to help make local schools safer. Proceeds from the gala, coupled with another donation from Valero Energy Foundation and matching funds from University Health, added up to more than $500,000 to support this lifesaving initiative.
The timing was perfect as State Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins sponsored a bill, together with State Representatives Steve Allison and Diego Bernal, requiring school districts to have bleeding control kits and training. That bill became Texas Law during the 2019 Texas Legislative Session.
“We sincerely hope these resources will never be needed for a large-scale emergency in any of our schools,” said Cotner-Pouncy. “However, ensuring teachers, administrators and school staff members have the training and tools to immediately respond would help save lives in these tragic situations.”