Stop the Bleed: Teens get a lesson in trauma response

Stop the Bleed: Teens get a lesson in trauma response

CHAMPAIGN — Instead of relaxing by the pool on their summer vacation, 75 teens were thinking about worst-case scenarios Thursday afternoon. While learning about health care procedures at Carle's three-day Scrub Camp, they were also taught how to survive a school shooting.

"Even if they're in a library, we think every kid should know how to stop their friend from bleeding to death," said Mary Beth Voights, nurse practitioner and coordinator of trauma services at Carle.

At the camp, high school students are guided through a variety of interactive activities to broaden their knowledge of a career in health care.

One activity led by Voights and Dr. Henry Moore, Carle's trauma services medical director, teaches a medical response technique that bystanders can use to save the lives of those who have suffered a traumatic injury. It's called Stop the Bleed, an initiative launched by the White House in 2015.

Moore gave a brief presentation on how to identify life-threatening wounds and what to do when someone is severely bleeding. It takes emergency medical services about 10 minutes to arrive at a location, and in that time, death can be prevented in four easy steps, he said.

The instructions were simple and life-saving: call 9-1-1, apply pressure, apply gauze and apply a tourniquet.

"The American College of Surgeons need to get this method out there as quickly as possible," Moore said. "We focus on students because we want all the kids to be safe. We want to spread Stop the Bleed from our region to all of Illinois."

The students were split into groups to test what they learned by practicing putting tourniquets on one another, making sure they were tight enough to stop the blood flow of a potential injury.

Moore said schools have been a top target in active shooter episodes. For Danville High School student Cierra Nicholson, this activity was extremely valuable.

"I'm a high school student, which means I could potentially be a victim," she said. "I think it's really important to know how to stop a victim from bleeding."

Nicholson said the campers also learned the basics of CPR.

The national campaign Stop the Bleed has been offering presentations to public schools since last year. Now, Carle's trauma department offers Stop the Bleed training to schools in a 21-county area of East Central Illinois and has trained nearly 1,200 school employees through its hour-long training presentation.

"We start with the schools because students are a captive audience, and it's where the most traumatic injuries have occurred in groups," Voights said. "Schools are where we see the biggest mass shootings."

Moore said local schools have been receiving Stop the Bleed kits — with instructions, quick-clotting gauze, gloves, a marker and a tourniquet — which are installed near their automated external defibrillators.

"We want to teach not only schools but churches and assembly centers what to do during a traumatic event," he said. "For now, we'll start with places where big groups of people gather. Our next goal is to hit the universities. And soon, it has to go out to everyone."