A public service campaign started after the Newtown, Ct., school shootings, has taught 900 people how to stop bleeding from violent incidents and save victims’ lives.
Responding to a 911 call for a gunshot victim, Chicago police officer David Watson followed a trail of blood into an apartment and found a teen with blood streaming from a leg wound. Using Marine training, Watson took the belt from the man’s pants and wrapped it around his thigh. He placed a stick under the belt to tighten it by twisting, and partner Paul Moreno pressed down on the wound until paramedics arrived. Doctors said that if Watson and Moreno hadn’t taken those steps, the teen probably would not have survived, the Chicago Tribune reports. Medical experts say anyone can employ a few basic techniques to achieve the same results when confronted with a life-and-death scenario. A public service campaign called “Stop the Bleed” aims to do just that: teach bystanders to save someone’s life by learning basic blood-stemming techniques.
Stop the Bleed was established by the White House in 2015 in response to the Newtown, Ct., mass school shooting in 2012. It aims to arm civilians with skills and bleeding control kits to provide crucial aid in an emergency until medical professionals can take over. Each time there is a mass shooting like the massacre in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, the campaign takes on greater urgency. In Chicago, more than 3,000 people have been shot this year; the victim can bleed to death in five minutes. Bystanders are on the scene before first responders, and bleeding is a leading preventable cause of death for victims. Lessons learned from battlefield medicine are the basis for training to stop blood loss. In two years, the American College of Surgeons, coordinating Stop the Bleed classes, has trained 165 people as bleeding control instructors. They have held 80 courses for 900 students.