Stop the Bleed

07/18/2017

Healthy Living – July 18, 2017
Anthony Tannous, MD – Eastern Maine Medical Center
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It seems as though every few months or even more frequently, the nation deals with a new tragedy involving an active shooter. These mass shootings can occur at any time, have a propensity to take place in public settings, and tend to affect communities when they are least suspecting it. The medical community has been focusing its efforts for a while on trying to limit the damage caused by these events and we are at a point where we understand that the outcomes for victims are essentially related to the work of bystanders and first responders on the scene even before access to qualified medical care.
 
Motivated by the 2012 tragedy in Sandy Hook and multiple other tragedies, leaders from law enforcement, the federal government, and the medical community convened together in Hartford, Connecticut and released what is now known as the Hartford Consensus in an attempt to improve survivability from mass casualty events. The conclusion and main theme of the consensus entailed that providing first responders and bystanders with the tools and skills to limit life-threatening bleeding on the scene would go a long way towards saving lives.
 
As a result, the American College of Surgeons is leading the effort in disseminating the "Stop the Bleed" course throughout the country in an attempt to reach as many law enforcement agencies and local communities as possible. And in collaboration with Maine EMS and trauma centers throughout the state including Eastern Maine Medical Center, the course has finally made its way to our beloved home here in Maine. We have conducted the first B-Con (Bleeding Control) course on July 18, with the participation of multiple prehospital agencies. Our goal is to reach out to as many institutions and individuals as possible to give them this easily learned, potentially life-saving training.
                                                                                     
The course objectives include familiarizing the public with basic skills for hemorrhage control using kits containing a booklet outlining the process, hemostatic gauze (gauze that promotes the interruption of bleeding), a tourniquet, compression bandage, gloves, and a sharpie marker. A lot can be achieved with this basic setup and the ultimate goal is zero preventable deaths from external hemorrhage. These skills are within the grasp of anyone with access to these kits and are readily achievable with a basic, non-time consuming training. The kits themselves are available for purchase as a unit or a package of many units on the bleedingcontrol.org
 
Our first course in Bangor targeted first responders but ultimately we would like to reach out to the most vulnerable institutions including schools, churches, social clubs, community centers, boy/girl scout meetings, and others. If you belong to such a group and would like to learn more about how to bring the course over to your institution please contact Anna Moses, BSN, RN, CCRN, CEN, TCRN, EMMC  trauma nurse coordinator at amoses@emhs.org or Pret Bjorn, RN, BS, TCRN, EMMC trauma program manager at pbjorn@emhs.org.You can also visit  www.bleedingcontrol.org to learn more about the course, the kits and hemorrhage control in general.