In the Sr. Ambrose Reggio, O.P. Gymnasium, members of Dominican’s Student Council gathered around tables to learn the ABCs of responding to life-threatening bleeding injuries during an emergency. Using machines that simulated bleeding, each student took a turn applying compression and packing a wound site. They also learned the proper way to apply tourniquets.
These basic steps can be life-saving, said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, an Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Director of Community Health Relations and Engagement, Associate Residency Program and Student Clerkship Director, and an Emergency physician at University Medical Center (UMC). Dr. Avegno, a Dominican alumna ’89, led the course with her colleagues from the UMC Trauma Unit.
The ABCs to stop bleeding after an injury are: Alert – call 9-1-1; B – Bleeding – find the bleeding injury; C – Compress – apply pressure to stop the bleeding by: 1. Covering the wound with a clean cloth and applying pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands, or 2. Using a tourniquet, or 3. Packing (stuffing) the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and then applying pressure with both hands.
“Our goal is to train everyone, especially non-medical personnel, with the basic skills needed to identify and control life-threatening bleeding in any situation,” Dr. Avegno said, noting that uncontrollable bleeding is the number one cause of preventable death from trauma. Severe loss of blood can lead to death in five minutes or less.
Launched by the White House in 2015, Stop the Bleed is a national campaign developed by the Department of Homeland Security and the American College of Surgeons. The campaign was a response to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Following that tragedy, the American College of Surgeons and different federal agencies, nongovernmental agencies and emergency responders gathered at Hartford to create a protocol that would increase survivability during active shootings and other mass-casualty events.
The course presented at Dominican is a joint venture between UMC, LSU Health New Orleans, and Tulane University School of Medicine. Since the program started, UMC has trained nearly 1,000 people in the community. Supported by a grant from the Spirit of Charity Foundation, the training program aims to equip and empower anyone to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. Similar to CPR given by a bystander, early bleeding control in injured patients can save lives until first responders arrive.
Assistant Principal and Dean of Students Sheri Salvagio said the student council members represent grades 8th through 12th and will share what they have learned with their classmates. “This course teaches an important life skill that prepares one for an emergency and gives the critical knowledge in how to respond to the situation.”