In the case of a bleeding injury, five minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
That’s why Billerica High School teachers rolled up their sleeves on a recent November afternoon and learned how to stop hemorrhaging as part of Stop the Bleed, a national campaign designed to teach individuals how to respond in emergency situations.
“The goal of the program is to teach bystanders to become first responders,” said Sandi Mackey, MSN, RN, TCRN, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center Trauma Program Manager. “Bystanders are essentially the first members of the medical team that renders aid to a bleeding victim, so that by the time the victim arrives in the trauma center, he’s got the best possible chance of survival because those techniques that we would apply in the hospital started as soon as the person was injured.”
The Stop the Bleed program originated from the Hartford Consensus, a committee that met after the mass casualty disaster at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn in 2012. The majority of victims from the shooting died from hemorrhaging, which is considered a preventable cause of death.
“Soon after was the Boston Marathon bombing, and the committee realized that they need to get this lifesaving information out to the general public,” Mackey said.
The training teaches participants to dial 911, ensure their own safety, look for life-threatening bleeding and compress and control the bleeding.
“The training is very easy and very similar to the way we teach lay people how to do hands-only CPR,” said Joseph Devlin, Paramedic Supervisor for the Town of Billerica, who assisted with the training.
Lahey Hospital & Medical Center staff has provided Stop the Bleed training to all first responders in Billerica. They hope to be able train teachers in all Billerica schools, as well as to have trauma first aid kits available at each location. About 30 of Billerica’s high school teachers received hands-on training at this session.
“We cannot predict when we will have injuries or the types of injuries we will have,” said Mackey. “But we can train people so that if this ever does happen in their community or their school system, anyone can apply these techniques very quickly to increase the chance of survival.”