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USAISR leading the way in ‘Stop the Bleed’ initiative

By Dr. Steven Galvan | USAISR Public Affairs | Jan. 23, 2018


The “Stop the Bleed” national awareness campaign was launched in 2015 to encourage bystanders in emergency incidents to get involved and stop life threating bleeding. The campaign encourages everyone to become trained, equipped and empowered to help stop bleeding in emergencies before help arrives.


To support this initiative, Col. (Dr.) Shawn Nessen, commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and the Army Surgeon General Trauma Consultant, has requested that all USAISR staff be trained to stop the bleed.


“The USAISR efforts to control battlefield hemorrhage have resulted in many saved lives among our wounded service members,” Nessen said. “Implementing the program gives us an opportunity to extend our leadership to the civilian sector. This program will allow anyone trained in its techniques to manage hemorrhage until help arrives.”


The first phase of the getting staff trained to stop the bleed involved two things: outfitting “Stop the Bleed” kits near every automated external defibrillator, or AED, station throughout the institute’s two buildings, as well as conducting hands-on classes to train instructors to train the staff.


“We took ownership of our own competence in that we are making ourselves more ready to respond to problems like violence like at the Navy Yard, and twice at Fort Hood,” said Dr. John Kragh, an orthopedic surgeon and tourniquet researcher, who assisted with the initial training. “We are also stewards of the community on this issue, and therefore, we are role models. Col. Nessen has emphasized these points well.”


Kragh stressed that the most important thing that staff members learn is when they see a need; they can intervene and stop the bleed.


“See a need? Stop the bleed! They get information on how and when to intervene so they can better judge, and they demonstrate the skills,” Kragh added.


Staff Sgt. Luis Sanchez, logistics noncommissioned officer, was among the first staff members to undergo the instructor training.


“The training was very good, especially for the staff members who have never encountered this type of situation where they need to know what to do and act quickly,” Sanchez said. “I learned how properly pack a wound on a casualty mannequin. This training was beneficial because it keeps us sharp and ready.”


Stephanie Truss, USAISR Health, Safety and Environmental manager, coordinated the instructor training and attended the initial class.


“The installation of the ‘Stop the Bleed’ kits, along with the rapid deployment of a diverse training team, are all integral parts of the commander’s initiative,” Truss said. “We are the leading edge for the methods of stop the bleed and we hope to not only increase the amount of skilled trained staff but for each of them to share the knowledge in the community.”


Truss will coordinate another iteration of instructor classes before initiating training for the staff in 2018.


“It's important for our staff to be trained, because we never know what can happen,” Sanchez said. “The more prepared we are as a staff, the better our chances of surviving in a situation where we need to apply these skills and save lives.” 


“We are changing the world,” Kragh added. “In my experience, it's really slow and hard to substantially improve the world. It's most gratifying to have improved first aid which potentially affects learners and patients globally. We continue this effort in service of the 7.5 billion people on the planet today and the next 7.5 billion to come. This is as good as it gets, the work of our lifetime to help others hold onto their lifetimes.”