If you were in a situation where you could help someone suffering from uncontrolled bleeding, would you know what to do? Could you save a life?
On Thursday evening, Jan. 11, about 200 people attended Clovis Community Medical Center’s (CCMC) “Stop the Bleed” seminar in the H. Marcus Radin Conference Center.
Part of the Medical Center’s free HealthQuest program, “Stop the Bleed” was straightforward and an easy to understand presentation with two parts: A discussion of basic skills and techniques used to arrest bleeding followed by a question and answer session. Three people were chosen at random to receive a personal bleeding control kit provided by the medical center.
The second component of the seminar was a hands-on practice session with realistic aides and guidance from medical professionals. Using hemorrhage control trainee simulation kits, attendees identified sample injuries, packed and compressed simulated wounds and practiced applying tourniquets.
“I feel as though I could really help someone now,” said Kathy, who attended the session. “This is important stuff, you never know when you might need it. I have three kids and accidents can happen anywhere.”
Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma. It can happen in the home or in any public place.
“Everybody needs to know how to control bleeding – it could save a life,” said guest speaker, Dr. James Davis, Chief of Surgery at UCSF-Fresno. “The only thing more tragic than a death from bleeding, is a death that could have been prevented.”
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Davis went over the primary principles of trauma care and the ABCs of trauma care response. The audience followed along with a booklet provided to each participant.
The first thing Davis stressed was to ensure your own safety. You can’t help someone else if you become injured.
The ABCs are easy to remember:
A – ALERT – Call or ask someone to call 911.
B – BLEEDING – Find the source of bleeding, remove clothing if necessary to locate the injury, cover or pack the wound with cloth or gauze.
C – COMPRESS – Using both hands, apply firm direct pressure on the wound. “You’ve got to keep the pressure on,” explained Davis. “Push down, don’t ease up. Most bleeding can be stopped with pressure. It’s really simple, there’s no magic to this. Find the source, pack the wound and apply pressure to stop the bleeding.”
If the bleeding cannot be stopped, using a tourniquet can be lifesaving:
Wrap the tourniquet around the bleeding arm or leg 2-3 inches above the injury. Do not place onto a joint; go above the joint area.
Tighten until bleeding stops. Secure the free end of tourniquet and note the time. The tourniquet needs to be removed by a medical professional in under two hours.
Using a tourniquet can be painful but is life-saving.
“In the last 30 years, I’ve used a tourniquet three times,” said Davis.
Part of CCMC’s mission is to offer education on important health related subjects and HealthQuest has been well received by the public. The facility bears the entire cost. Suggestions for topics of interest are requested from attendees on the evaluation form given out at the end of each seminar.
“Community Medical Center’s HealthQuest Lecture Series is a monthly event that is free to the general public and offers information on health and related topics throughout the year with a focus on prevention and overall better health for the community,” said Kelley Prins, Marketing & Physician Relations. “Registration is typically open 3-4 weeks in advance of the event date.”
Lecture topics vary month-to-month, with the exception of July and December, when no seminar is scheduled. Parking is convenient and available in the parking garage to the north of the conference center.
The next seminar is Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. The topic is “Matters of the Heart: Understanding Heart Health and the Differences Between Men and Women.” The guest speaker is Dr. Teresa Daniele, Medical Director of the Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Health and Non-Invasive Cardiology at Community Regional Medical Center. Sign up by going online or calling 559-324-4787.