Become an ‘immediate responder’: know how to help someone with a traumatic injury before first responders arrive

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - When tragedy arises, whether that be a shooting, stabbing, or even a car crash, every second matters in the response to helping the victims.

If you are the first on the scene of an incident where someone is hurt, you have the power to potentially save their life - but you have to know what to do.

“The majority of patients we lose in trauma are to bleeding episodes,” said Melissa Dorsch, Trauma Performance Improvement Coordinator at Baylor Scott & White Health.

“It’s not to head trauma or broken necks or to other broken bones. The majority of the patients we lose in trauma are to bleeding episodes, and if we can get people on scene to stop that bleeding prior to first responders, we could save a lot more lives that way.”

Dorsch says tragedies like the one in Uvalde put a spotlight on the importance of what is called “immediate responders,” the people who arrive at the scene before first responders get there.

“We need to create as many immediate responders as we can in the community so that if heaven forbid something like that were to happen in our community, we have a pool of immediate responders that can jump right in,” she said.

In fact, it was after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that the “Stop the Bleed” campaign was created to teach people what steps to take.

Rule number one, apply pressure.

“If that wound is still bleeding with all that pressure you are applying, you are then going to use whatever you have and start stuffing that wound because that means it’s bleeding from the inside and not from the surface,” Dorsch said.

Do not stop applying pressure until first responders arrive, never take anything out of the wound, and do not use a homemade tourniquet. However, if you do have a tourniquet available, twist it until the bleeding stops.

“If we can get them to the trauma centers alive with that blood inside them then we have a much better chance of saving them,” Dorsch said.

Learning these skills can eliminate panic and give you the tools to save lives when faced with tragedy.

Baylor Scott & White offers free “Stop the Bleed” training to anyone by contacting the hospital.

You can also purchase kits that include a tourniquet from “Stop the Bleed”.

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