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“Stop the Bleed”

“Stop the Bleed”

The Boston Marathon bombing. Sandy Hook. San Bernardino. Charleston. Orlando. Paris. Manchester. As these and other terrorist attacks and mass shootings have made clear, communities worldwide are increasingly contending with acts of violence that result in mass casualties. To help save lives, the American College of Surgeons and the Hartford Consensus developed a “Stop the Bleed” initiative following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings to instruct people on the scene how to respond. This initiative is now being rolled out to Upper Valley residents by members of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Trauma Surgery Team and Community Health Department.

Two free “Stop The Bleed” courses will be offered in June at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC): one on June 14 from 6 to 7:30 pm in DHMC Auditorium F and a second class on June 19 in DHMC Auditorium A from 1 to 3 pm. The classes are open to D-H employees and to the public and will be taught by DHMC Trauma Surgeon Eric Martin, MD, and Trauma and Acute Care Surgery nurse Deborah Upton, APRN. The June 14 course is being facilitated by the Community Health Department’s Wesley Miller and will be offered during an Upper Valley Medical Reserve Corps (UVMRC) meeting. Miller, who is the Upper Valley Public Health Emergency Preparedness coordinator and Medical Reserve Corps coordinator, notes that non-UVMRC are welcome to sign-up and attend.

Similar to the hands-only CPR initiative, “Stop the Bleed” is for the average person with little to no medical training. “The course teaches people what life-threatening bleeding looks like and helps them learn how to control it with a few simple measures, including how and when to use a tourniquet,” says Martin. “But I think the most important aspect of the course is teaching people how effective direct pressure can be in stopping bleeding.”

Upton notes that a bleeding victim can die of blood loss within five minute, while the average response time for emergency responders nationwide is eight minutes. “We want to empower the public to recognize life-threatening bleeding and be able to provide the simple intervention that not only can save lives, but also prevent complications down the road,” she says, adding that traumatic injuries in the Upper Valley are often the result of motor vehicle accidents, logging injuries and hunting accidents. “I think everyone wants to be a Good Samaritan and this is a way they can learn how to help.”

Miller is looking forward to helping Martin and Upton roll out the course across the Upper Valley and into the schools in the near future. He organized a “Stop the Bleed” course for 28 Upper Valley school nurses in March, which was taught by DHMC Emergency Medical Services Director Thomas Trimarco, MD. “There was a tremendous response from the school nurses. We are hoping to build up a cadre of instructors and resources that will allow us to extend this program deeper into the schools and community,” Miller says. “We really want to build a consciousness around this program because you can significantly alter the outcome of a horrific event if you choose to get involved. What more tremendous feeling is there than that?”

If you are interested in attending the “Stop the Bleed” class on either June 14 or June 19, send an email by Monday June 12 to: StoptheBleed@hitchcock.org.