Training Bystanders to Save Lives

Stop the Bleed classes empower community members to assist during a trauma.

Published in Dome - Community Issue 2017

Recognizing that bystanders are usually first on the scene of mass casualty events, Suburban Hospital is offering Stop the Bleed—a free course in bleeding control to help prepare community members who have little or no medical training to take action during the critical first minutes after an injury.

Designed by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, the national program was launched in 2015 due, in part, to mass shootings such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Autopsies from such events have shown that some victims might have survived if bystanders had been trained in how to stop their bleeding.

Classes are held once each month at Suburban. So far, about 200 community members have been trained.

During each two-hour Stop the Bleed workshop, trauma team nurses guide participants through proper application of tourniquets and use of gauze packs for wound packing. Medical mannequins and unconventional items, such as belts, neckties, shirts and other typical household items, are used to demonstrate alternative ways to control bleeding.

“Whenever you listen to the news, it does not take long to realize that everyone should be prepared to deal with severe bleeding and save a life in a split second,” says Dany Westerband, medical director of trauma services at Suburban. “Practical knowledge of simple bleeding control techniques applicable before the arrival of emergency personnel has become a must for everyone in our society.”

For more information, contact Patricia Rios at [email protected].