Stop the Bleed: Encouraging people to learn how to stop blood loss in emergencies

The nationwide campaign 'Stop the Bleed' encourages people to become trained to handle traumatic injuries in order to prevent hemorrhaging and blood loss.

The grassroots campaign was launched in October 2015 by the White House.

Trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 46, according to a recent study by the National Academies of Science. In an emergency situation, bystanders are always the first on the scene no matter how fast the response by emergency personnel. A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss, so providing care right away is critical.

"Same concept as CPR, " says Dr. William Powers IV, a surgeon with New Hanover Regional Medical Center. "You see somebody that is in a cardiac arrest, you walk up to them and try to provide life-saving care. That's really the whole concept with stopping the bleed is to allow that person to keep their blood volume. Because you could really bleed to death in five to ten minutes. If the bystander can stop it before 9-1-1 gets there, that's even better."

One of the steps suggested by the campaign includes asking bystanders to use hands to stop a bleeding wound. Dr. Powers says the campaign understands the risks associated with contact with bodily fluids and says if you're not comfortable, there are other options.

"The first concept for 'Stop the Bleed' as a national campaign is to ensure our bystander safety first," said Dr. Powers. "If you feel like you're putting yourself in a dangerous situation, the last thing we want is to create more victims of whatever is happening. The Hartford consensus performed a survey before we ever initiated this campaign, and the overwhelming majority of the public that replied said, 'We'd be more than happy to help someone who we saw that was in a life-threatening bleeding situation, realizing that that may be a risk.'"

The 'Stop the Bleed' campaign suggests the following when dealing with traumatic injuries:

"At our trauma center, we routinely see tourniquets used and they absolutely save lives," Dr. Powers said. "We had a Boy Scout who applied one for his father and stopped an aertial bleed and we were able to save his arm and his life."

To find more information on the campaign, click here.

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