How you can ‘stop the bleed’ and save a life

Local News

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Fashion Place Mall shooting is a reminder that a “mass casualty event” in public is possible — and it’s possible to prepare, in case you might be able to save a life.

“There were live bullets flying in a public mall, and the potential was there for large scale and mass casualties,” said Dr. Mark Stevens, a trauma surgeon with Intermountain Medical Center.

Cell phone video shows Good Samaritans applying tourniquets to victims.

Stevens explained the things you can do if you see somebody bleeding after a traumatic event.

“Uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhage is the most common cause of preventable death following injury,” said Stevens.

He recommends that you attend a “Stop the Bleed” course, which is about 45 minutes and involves hands-on learning coupled with traditional slides and presentations.

But, for the purposes of instruction, here are a few tips.

The first thing you can do is apply firm pressure with your palm to the wound.

If that doesn’t work, and if the bleeding continues, then try “packing” the wound with gauze — or a hat, scarf, or tie, depending on what you have.

“That may hurt the person who is injured to some degree, but you just have to talk them through it and continue to apply pressure,” said Stevens.

But if bleeding continues, then it’s time for a tourniquet, which should be applied above the wound and closer to the heart from the wound.

“You tighten it, and just try to verify that by putting a finger underneath it,” explained Stevens.

“If that’s not successful, then we would recommend placing a second tourniquet above the wound and just adjacent — or next to the first tourniquet.”

Tourniquets would not be used for abdomen or neck wounds but can be incredibly effective on legs or arms.

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