WakeMed holds free training course to stop bleeding after shooting, trauma
In several mass shootings across the country, medical providers have said that many victims who bled to death could have survived if bystanders would have had the proper training.
If more people had known how to slow down the bleeding until emergency help arrived, the loss of life may have been different.
WakeMed is one of many sites across the country offering a free hour-long courses to anyone interested in learning the life-saving skill.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s an event like a shooting or a bombing. It could be an industrial accident. It could be an accident in the home,” health educator Dale Hill said.
While Hill and WakeMed trauma nurse coordinator Sarah McIntyre place medical gauze on a wound in a teaching session, they emphasize that a T-shirt or any cloth can easily be used.
“It’s takes a lot of pressure,” Hill said. “As long as you can put it on that wound, apply direct pressure and control that bleeding, you can make a difference.”
With bleeding, McIntyre said, simply waiting for expert medical responders to arrive is not an option.
“Look for bleeding that has fallen on the ground or the sheet or what have you,” McIntyre said. “We have heard from research that bleeding to death can happen within three to five minutes.”
Sometimes, simply applying pressure with gauze won’t slow the bleeding, which is why Hill recommends “stuffing” the wound.
“We’re trying to get that gauze or cloth as close to the vessel as we can to try to slow that bleeding down,” Hill said.
Many people said they don’t have the confidence to learn the skill, but McIntyre said she’s already trained her own and 9- and 12-year-old children.
Learning skills like CPR and responding to a life-threatening bleed requires a special mindset. Educators said it demands an attitude of readiness and willingness to save a life.
Experts also said that everyone should have a first aid kit that may contain gauze in their cars.
A last resort for controlling bleeding is the use of a special tourniquet, which professionals also teach in the Stop the Bleed course.