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'Stop the Bleed': Program empowers bystanders in a shooting

Packing gauze into a bullet wound is no time to be tender.

“This is not packing,” Jackie DeSilva told an audience of nurses and first-responders Wednesday as she made gentle motions around a simulated wound on a foam cylinder at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.

Saving a life requires “quick and dirty” stuffing motions, said DeSilva, a registered nurse and RRMC’s trauma program manager.

Her audience of 10 nurses and paramedics already knew to be firm when seconds count. But this was directed for the laypeople they will train in the Stop the Bleed program, aimed at showing people how to render life-saving aid during a mass shooting or other catastrophe.

“People can die in the time it takes for a commercial,” said Laura Nelson, one of 10 new Stop the Bleed trainers and an Asante surgery RN.

If a major artery is severed, a person could lose seven liters of blood in a minute, according to Asante spokeswoman Lauren VanSickle. There’s five to eight liters of blood in the average person.

Stop the Bleed shows people of all ages and backgrounds how not to be bystanders in an era when mass-casualty tragedies appear to strike from every which way, and at gathering places of every sort.

Developed with the National Security Council, American College of Surgeons and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, the program will include short trainings from first-responders teaching people how to apply combat application tourniquets and how to use blood-coagulating hemostatic gauze in techniques adapted from the U.S. military.

The tourniquets cost less than $30 online, though DeSilva said that at the Society of Trauma nurses convention in Portland last spring, better known as TraumaCon, she saw special kits containing gauze and tourniquets stored next to an Automated Emergency Defibrillator at the airport.

For Nelson, who served in the Army, much of the training was familiar. A medic can get taken out on patrol, so everyone in a military squad gets first-responder training. These days, however, tragedy strikes businesses and churches, she said.

“Everybody has to be soldiers these days,” Nelson said.

For Ashland Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Boyersmith, another new trainer, getting the perspective of how non-medically-trained people and the way they learn was valuable insight.

“These are the people who can make a difference,” Boyersmith said.

In many situations, first-responders can’t render first-aid until the coast is completely clear, according to the program’s website, which carries the slogan, “The only thing more tragic than a death from bleeding is a death that could have been prevented.”

The training empowers bystanders to step in.

“See something. Do something,” Stop the Bleed’s website says.

The Stop the Bleed program works to combat a “bystander mentality,” in which people typically want to stand back and wait for first-responders to arrive when they spot someone severely injured — sometimes assuming others already called 911, according to Asante RRMC trauma program coordinator Heather Timmons, who trained the paramedics and nurses with DeSilva.

Wednesday’s train-the-trainer event brought the number of area instructors to 100, with 90 medical professionals trained last March, according to Timmons.

DeSilva said they don’t want the nationally recognized program to be “Asante-centric,” so they’re working with multiple agencies on the national and state-sanctioned program. In addition to staff from RRMC and Ashland Fire-Rescue, new trainers came from Jackson County fire districts 3 and 5, Mercy Flights and Providence Medford Medical Center.

They eventually hope to provide the hands-on trainings to workplaces and schools, according to Timmons and DeSilva. The first training in Jackson County will be in late August, with Jackson County Community Justice at the Juvenile Detention Center.

Another group of 24 bystanders will be trained in late July in Josephine County.

DeSilva said Stop the Bleed organizers are in the process of scheduling a training with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Although deputies are already tourniquet trained, Stop the Bleed’s program includes simpler instructions.

Other classes haven’t yet been scheduled, but information about the program and upcoming classes can be found at www.bleedingcontrol.org.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneJackie DeSilva, trauma program manager, demonstrates proper tourniquet use during a Stop the Bleed program at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center on Wednesday.