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Friday, July 12, 2024

Learn the Simple Steps to Prevent Blood Loss

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Blood loss is the leading cause of avoidable death when someone is injured according to The American College of Surgeons (ACS) STOP THE BLEED® program. While most of us connect blood loss to gunshot wounds, everyday accidents can also cause hemorrhaging, such as home improvement, gardening, cooking and car accidents. By learning Stop the Bleed skills, the person next to a bleeding victim can be the one most likely to save their life.
When you observe a victim suffering from life-threatening blood loss, such as a lot of blood or continually flowing or pooling blood, call 9-1-1. While waiting, prevent blood from escaping the victim’s body by locating the wound or wounds, then compressing them using the relevant step:
• Use just enough of a bandage or clean cloth to cover the wound and then apply direct pressure with both hands if you have no first aid kit; this step can be sufficient if the bleeding stops. Even if it does, do not relax the pressure until help arrives.
• Pack the wound, then press on it.
If a wound is deep or large and you have enough clean cloth with you, pack the wound with the cloth until it’s filled before putting pressure on it. Gauze is even better than cloth. This step is recommended if the injury is in the neck, shoulder or groin area.
• Apply a tourniquet above the site of the bleeding if the injury is to the arm or leg. Avoid the elbow or knee joint when positioning the tourniquet. Keep tightening until the bleeding stops. One advantage of the tourniquet is that you can apply it to yourself. If you have no tourniquet and the injury is to the arm or leg, pack the wound instead.
Make sure to keep the pressure up, even if it’s painful to the victim. Wear gloves if possible and notify emergency medical workers if any blood spills on you.
Learning blood loss prevention from professionals is helpful, especially since the steps can vary based on injury severity, the wound’s location and what equipment you have handy. Eskenazi Health Outreach & Injury Prevention (https://www.eskenazihealth.edu/programs/community-outreach-violence-prevention) offers training led by representatives from the Smith Level I Shock Trauma Center at Eskenazi Health. Call 317-880-5045 for more information.
While in-person training is ideal, the STOP THE BLEED® program includes free online assistance at https://www.stopthebleed.org/training/online-course/ as well as in-person offerings. Training is available to all ages. English and Spanish how-to posters and a flowchart are also available on the program site at https://www.stopthebleed.org/resources-poster-booklet/.
There are so many ways you could fill your time this month. Let one of the ways you spend it be learning how to save your loved one or someone else’s.

Broderick Rhyant, M.D., chief physician executive with Eskenazi Health Center Grande

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