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December 9, 2016
Fla. medical professionals to train public on bleeding control
By Naseem S. Miller
ORLANDO, Fla. — It's not rare for trauma surgeons to rush to rescue patients who have gone into shock because of massive blood loss.
They start bleeding but nobody stops the bleeding until the paramedics arrive, said Dr. Michael Cheatham, chief surgical quality officer and trauma surgeon at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Sometimes those few minutes indeed can make a big difference, doctors say.
Cheatham's parent organization, Orlando Health, and several area agencies are in the early stages of putting together plans to train the public on basic bleeding control techniques.
Their effort is part of Stop the Bleed, a nationwide campaign that came to life not long after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
"If you can keep the blood inside the body and get the patient to the hospital, the patient is very likely to survive," said Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, vice president of academic affairs at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and chairman of Hartford Consensus, a series of recommendations produced by an multi-agency committee formed after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Whether caused by a deep cut from a broken piece of glass or a serious car accident, serious bleeding doesn't have to be life threatening. In fact, it can be controlled or stopped by any trained bystander, much like how a patient in cardiac arrest can be saved by CPR from someone nearby.
"You can literally go grab a kit or use the shirt off your back or whatever you have available to hold pressure on the wound and stop the bleeding," said Cheatham, who carries a small bleeding control kit in his pocket.
Cheatham said Orlando Health was looking into bringing the training to Central Florida before the Pulse tragedy happened six months ago, but after the event "we realized that this may be the perfect opportunity for us to explain to the public why they need to do this."
The health system is also hoping to place bleeding control kits — including tourniquets, gloves and compressed gauze — beside automatic defibrillator boxes in public. The town of Davie in Broward County made bleeding control kits available in dozens of its properties, including the City Hall, last year.
Orlando Health and its partners are still ironing out the details of public training sessions, but the health system has already started training physicians, nurses and other health professionals so they can go out and train the community.
Dr. Christopher Hunter, director of Orange County's Health Services Department, said the training course is about two hours and teaches students the basics of bleeding control, such as using tourniquets and applying pressure.
"It teaches them that if you sit there and hold pressure really hard, you might save someone's life," said Hunter.
On Wednesday morning, Orlando Health also got a surprise $10,000 grant from the Institute for Health Improvement to use toward implementing Stop the Bleed campaign here.