ThedaCare Training Bystanders to Stop Blood Loss

Program Includes Education, Supplies for the Public

When emergencies happen, medical responders aren’t usually the first on the scene. The Trauma Center at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah today launched a public initiative to teach bystanders how to help in a bleeding incident before professional help arrives.

“Training bystanders how to care for bleeding emergencies is vital since they are at the scene of the incident,” said David Schultz, MD, the new medical director of Trauma at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. “The faster bleeding is stopped, the chances of a good outcome is increased.”

Stop the Bleed, a nationwide initiative, is about teaching basic rules to help bystanders stop the bleeding on the extremities during a mass casualty event, Dr. Schultz said. “We want to make learning how to stop bleeding as ubiquitous as learning basic CPR.”

Beginning Feb. 8, ThedaCare will offer Stop the Bleed classes to the public. For a list of bleeding control classes and to sign up, go to www.thedacare.org/classes. ThedaCare also plans to train people working at local music festivals, EAA AirVenture, schools and businesses how to provide care to bleeding victims until EMTs arrive.

“The earlier care can be provided to victims, the better. You can reduce the chances of a person going into shock, decrease complications, and help patients be in a better condition when trained medical responders arrive,” Dr. Schultz said.

The Stop the Bleed education program is modeled after the U.S. Army’s effort to equip soldiers with trauma supplies and the knowledge to use them. That’s credited with decreasing the Army’s death rate from extremity bleeding from 7.8 percent to 2.6 percent during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Stop the Bleed has a goal of placing cases with basic medical supplies to stop bleeding, such as padding and tourniquets, in public buildings next to AEDs. In an emergency, bystanders can quickly access the equipment and provide basic care to victims until EMTs arrive. “These kits are designed to stop bleeding in the extremities, not the torso or internal bleeding,” Dr. Schultz said.

During Stop the Bleed training, people learn how to apply pressure to a wound, apply a dressing while continuing applying pressure, and then how to use one or two tourniquets to slow blood loss. Like CPR, this training can be used anywhere – in the field after a farming accident, on the highway following a motorcycle crash, or in the shop of the hobbyist woodworker.

“With the recent mass disasters in the country, we have seen it can take time for medical responders to gain access to the wounded. If we can train more people to provide basic bleeding control interventions, we can save more lives,” Dr. Schultz said.

The conversation about training bystanders began following the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. In 2015, the White House, with the support of the American College of Surgeons, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and FEMA, began rolling out Stop the Bleed, a national outreach and advocacy program focusing on educating first responders and the general public on how to stop severe bleeding.

As the only Level II trauma center in the Fox Cities, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah is taking the lead to educate area residents, Dr. Schultz said.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 32 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.