Americans should have access to bleed control training

Who would have thought that God would have put Brad out on the field with me, because the tourniquet he applied, many will tell you, saved my life so I could actually get to the hospital on time without blood loss.” House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' Scalise tells Canada: Make a deal on trade or be left behind GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave MORE (R-La.) spoke these words on the House floor on Sept. 14, his first day to work after the congressional baseball practice shooting on June 14.

According to the National Trauma Institute, a traumatic injury, hemorrhage, or major loss of blood, is responsible for over 35 percent of pre-hospital deaths and over 40 percent of deaths that occur within the first 24 hours. As physicians from both sides of the aisle, thinking back to that congressional baseball practice, it’s hard to imagine what Scalise’s fate would have been if a tourniquet had not been applied to his leg – and his bleeding had not stopped.

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Although this strategy was borne on the battlefields of Vietnam and validated in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, you don’t have to be a trained combat surgeon to know how to assist with severe bleeding injuries and potentially save a life. Just as we certify everyday Americans in first aid or CPR, knowing how to stop severe bleeding would benefit anyone in a life-threatening situation. Whether that’s a car accident, a gun or knife injury, an industrial equipment injury, or a natural disaster, we should empower everyday Americans to save lives in these situations.

In October 2015, the White House and the American College of Surgeons launched Stop the Bleed®, a program that provides individuals with the education and training they need to stop blood loss and save lives. The program was developed by the Hartford Consensus to Enhance Survival in Intentional Mass Casualty Events in April 2013, just a few months after the active shooter tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Just like CPR classes teach bystanders to assist people in cardiac arrest, a brief 20-30 minute Stop the Bleed® class can teach anyone how to stop excessive bleeding. After calling 911, a person losing blood is still in grave danger. Stop the Bleed® classes help bystanders act decisively and safely to save lives. 

On Oct. 12, 2017, we hosted a Stop the Bleed® event on Capitol Hill, where members of Congress and staff were invited to stop by and learn these rapid bleeding control techniques. One of those who attended was Scalise. He wanted to learn exactly how a tourniquet is applied and how his own bleeding was stopped so he could arrive at the hospital safely for treatment.

As doctors in Congress, we recognize the importance of ensuring that all members of society have access to bleeding control training – whether that’s individuals, school teachers, scout troops, offices, or even doctors themselves. We are committed to helping with that effort. The Stop the Bleed® program will only be successful if the training and tools are widely available. We need to help communities across the country disseminate and understand this important program and make trainings as frequent as first aid and CPR.  Accidents and tragedies happen every day – it’s important that we are equipped to help save a life.

To learn more about the Stop the Bleed ® program, we encourage everyone to visit https://www.dhs.gov/stopthebleed.