You can help stop the bleed

McHugh David / Special to The Chief
Staff at Prevost Memorial Hospital undergoing bleeding control training.

Help save a life. It’s a powerful statement, given our basic desire to be of assistance when most needed – to keep someone from dying. The phrase “Help save a life” speaks to the core of our human nature.

So, when LERN (Louisiana Emergency Response Network) first learned of the national initiative called Stop the Bleed – they jumped on board to help lead Louisiana’s Stop the Bleed effort – a logical next step in LERN’s mission as the agency of state government focused on building Louisiana’s system of care coordination for those suddenly stricken by traumatic injury.

The creation of Stop the Bleed can be traced to the darkest of days in 2012 when 26 people (20 of them children between the ages of six and seven years old) died in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school at the hands of an active shooter. That terrible day, Lenworth Jacobs, M.D. and his trauma team at Hartford Hospital were notified of this unfolding disaster. They were ready and waiting to receive the rush of wounded patients from Sandy Hook Elementary …that never came.

Dr. Jacobs, a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), led a distinguished committee of trauma experts (that included the late Norman McSwain, M.D. from Louisiana) to examine the potential of increasing survival after these horrific incidents. In a recent TraumaSystemNews article, Dr. Jacobs explains a key finding of this committee regarding severely bleeding patients, “…if you want to have the maximum chance of survival, the person who’s going to take care of you is the person right beside you. And that person is most likely not a medical person, this is just a regular citizen.”

Stop the Bleed was created to develop and promote an educational effort that could teach laypeople to competently stop bleeding until EMS or other help arrives. Stop the Bleed training is now being delivered across the nation. The training is straightforward and includes three things – how to use your hands, how to use a hemostatic dressing, and how to use a tourniquet. The typical training session lasts between 30 minutes and one hour.

Dr. Jacobs further explains the larger vision of Stop the Bleed, “…is to create immediate responders in the lay public to stop bleeding – not just from an explosion or gunshot, but from any cause, because it is far more common for someone to be cut with a chainsaw, cut with a kitchen knife, fall on a stake, have a very bad motorcycle accident, etc. Those kinds of injuries are much more common than shootings or explosive events.”

In Louisiana, LERN has developed a four-part Stop the Bleed effort that is being pursued statewide:

--Training - LERN can provide train-the-trainer classes, materials, and guidance for organizations and groups that want to establish their own STOP THE BLEED training efforts.

--Presentations - LERN staff members are available for introductory STOP THE BLEED presentations and consultations.

--Partnerships - LERN works with healthcare providers, law enforcement and public safety agencies, education and recreation providers, business and industry across Louisiana to promote STOP THE BLEED.

--Fundraising - LERN will be requesting grants and other contributions from relevant stakeholders that can be deposited in the Louisiana Emergency Response Network Fund to provide training supplies and bleeding control kits as funding allows.

A recent example of LERN’s Stop the Bleed work is a collaborative effort between LERN, Ascension Public Schools, and Prevost Memorial Hospital located on the west bank of Ascension Parish in Donaldsonville. This spring, LERN delivered Stop the Bleed train-the-trainer sessions for Prevost Memorial Hospital and Ascension Parish Schools staff. These new Stop the Bleed trainers will train selected staff members in the west bank Ascension Parish public schools and other interested groups in the greater Donaldsonville area. Additionally, Prevost Memorial Hospital purchased and donated Stop the Bleed stations that will be installed in all public schools on the west bank of Ascension Parish.

Help save a life. Agencies, organizations, and individuals interested in joining Louisiana’s Stop the Bleed effort can contact the LERN office at 225-756-3440 to discuss how to get involved. Visit the LERN website at lern.la.gov for more information.