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PRODUCED BY AND FOR MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY January 2018 | Archived Issues

Stop the Bleed Class Teaches Lifesaving Skills

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Navpreet Dhillon, MD, leads a demonstration in a recent “Stop the Bleed” class, which provides emergency training in treating severe wounds.

The person who is going to save your life is probably the person right next to you.

That’s a fact when it comes to emergency cases involving severe bleeding or hemorrhaging, which can be fatal within minutes, said Heidi Hotz, RN, Trauma Program manager in the Department of Surgery.

"Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death from trauma," said Hotz. "Bystanders are likely to be first on the scene, and many lives would be saved if they knew how to control bleeding until help arrives."

Teaching those skills is precisely the purpose of Stop the Bleed (STB), a free class Cedars-Sinai recently launched for employees and the general public. Introduced by the Obama administration in 2015, STB was created after learning that uncontrolled bleeding led to many deaths in the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Hotz points out that while STB skills might be most impactful in mass-casualty situations such as last October's Las Vegas shooting, these techniques are equally valuable in everyday accidents.

While law enforcement and other non-medical first responders were the initial focus of STB, there's since been a national call to reach as many civilians as possible. Now overseen by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, STB's objective is to make bleeding-control techniques as accessible to laypeople as training is for CPR.

"As a Level 1 trauma center, Cedars-Sinai is committed to educating the public and medical professionals about preventable injury, so we've been engaged with the Stop the Bleed initiative from the start," said Brett Dodd, RN, trauma education, injury prevention and outreach coordinator in the Department of Surgery.

That engagement has produced a two-and-a-half-hour class that provides educational information and hands-on training, including learning when and how to use a tourniquet to control life-threatening bleeding from a limb, and how to pack a wound and apply pressure to stem bleeding.

"This class is open to everyone and our goal is for all Cedars-Sinai employees—every department—to complete Stop the Bleed training," Dodd said. "This class educates and empowers people to not only save lives, but also to become advocates in their own communities about the importance of getting this training."

The Cedars-Sinai STB program has 25 instructors, but more are needed.

"With more instructors, we could equip more people with these lifesaving skills," said Hotz.

She notes that if you're certified as an athletic trainer, emergency medical technician, paramedic, physician's assistant, RN or MD, you can become an instructor after completing the class.

"If you have one of these certifications and want to be an instructor, sign up for a class and let us know you're interested when you arrive," Hotz added.

The next Stop the Bleed class is Wednesday, Feb. 7, 8–10:30 a.m. in the Education Conference Center, North Tower, Plaza Level, Room C. Registration is available online at Cedars-Sinai Stop the Bleed class.

For questions, email Brett Dodd at brett.dodd@cshs.org.