HERO launches new Stop the Bleed Campaign

By EMILY MCDONALD | April 19, 2018

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COURTESY OF CHRISTOPHER WEND In order to prevent fatal bleeding, HERO hopes to make Stop the Bleed kits accessible to Hopkins affiliates.

The Hopkins Emergency Response Organization (HERO) implemented the Stop the Bleed campaign on campus at the end of March. Stop the Bleed is a national program designed to improve bystander intervention in cases of emergency bleeding.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama launched Stop the Bleed in October 2015 to teach wound treatment tactics used in the U.S. military.

HERO members will be trained in bleeding control techniques, and Bleeding Control Kits stocked with emergency supplies will be installed in various locations across campus. 

To commemorate National Stop the Bleed Day on March 31, HERO members placed Stop the Bleed kits in all 23 automatic external defibrillator cases on the Homewood Campus, where they can be easily accessed in case of an emergency. The kits contain supplies such as tourniquets, QuikClot Combat Gauze, trauma shears, gloves and pressure dressings. 

Junior Rajiv Ayyagari decided to help bring the Stop the Bleed program to Hopkins after he attended a community bleeding control course at a local hospital.

Ayyagari explained that he contacted HERO with his proposal to bring Stop the Bleed to Hopkins because HERO possessed many of the resources and knowledge necessary to make the program possible.

“We ended up working to bring Stop the Bleed to Hopkins, and one of the first things that we discovered is that we already have a wonderful team here at HERO,” he said. “They already deal with that kind of thing, and a partnership is natural.” 

Ayyagari said that the campaign began as a response to the Boston Marathon bombing, after many first responders noticed that bystanders were unable to properly attend to injured people.

“What they also discovered was a lot of people had improperly placed makeshift tourniquets, and there was a lot of confusion about what to do,” he said. “The national program spun out of that.”

Christopher Wend, a Hopkins alum and former captain of HERO, helped implement the program at Hopkins. According to Wend, trauma is the leading cause of death in people ages one to 41, and uncontrollable hemorrhage is the leading potentially preventable cause of death among trauma patients.

Wend noted that while Stop the Bleed began as a response to a mass tragedy, it is useful in treating smaller-scale, everyday injuries as well.

“The big things you hear about are the shootings, the stabbings and terrorist attacks,” Wend said. “But the majority of lives in the U.S. that are going to be saved by Stop the Bleed is through everyday injuries.”

Ayyagari noted that the potential benefits of bleeding control training far outweigh the costs.

“It’s so little cost to an individual to learn how to do this. It’s at most an hour-and-a-half-long course for the layperson to learn, and it can save a life,” he said. “The measure of a life I think is worth a whole lot more than an hour and a half of anybody’s time.” 

Wend also stressed the importance of bystander intervention in cases of severe bleeding, noting that a person can bleed out within minutes. 

“HERO’s response time is four minutes. You can be bled out by then,” he said.

Dr. Elliott Haut, a trauma surgeon and vice chair of Quality, Safety & Service in the Department of Surgery at the Hopkins Medical Institute, also helped implement Stop the Bleed at Hopkins.

Haut likened the program to CPR, because they both teach bystanders to intervene in a life-threatening medical situation. 

“I don’t think we as trauma surgeons realized the minimal skill and the huge benefit that could happen,” he said. 

He also noted that while CPR has been taught since the 1960s, the national Stop the Bleed program was first introduced in 2015. 

“Now that we know this, we’re a little behind the cardiologists and CPR, but we’re going to catch up pretty quickly.”

Haut believes that it is important to be prepared in the case of a bleeding emergency. 

He said that one reason the campaign received so much attention was because of mass shootings on campus.

However, he said that it is important to combat a range of threats.

“We also need to realize that other people can get injured in other ways, and we need to be able to stop the bleeding right away,” he said. 

He went on to emphasise why the training will be useful to bystanders. 

“The reason you need this knowledge is you’re never sure when you’re going to need it,” he said.

Although the Stop the Bleed program at Hopkins is currently focused on teaching HERO members to control bleeding, Haut said that he would like to train more Hopkins affiliates in the future.

“This is going to be basic knowledge that I would like to get to everybody,” he said. “I would love it if we could somehow figure out a way that we’re teaching this to as many Hopkins undergrad students as possible,” 

Wend explained that he has helped bring Stop the Bleed to other members of the Baltimore community by training school nurses, first-year Hopkins medical students and ninth graders at River Hill High School in Baltimore County. 

HERO also showcased the benefits of Stop the Bleed at the B’more Health Expo 2018, an annual event displaying a variety of health and wellness exhibits and activities.

Haut said that he hopes to bring Stop the Bleed to other areas of Baltimore as well. 

For example, he suggested placing Stop the Bleed kits in local schools and businesses, as well as in the stadiums at Camden Yards. 

Dr. Matthew Levy, the senior medical officer of the Hopkins Center for Law Enforcement Medicine and associate professor of Emergency Medicine, also helped bring Stop the Bleed to Hopkins. 

Levy helped design the Stop the Bleed program on the national level.

He was a member of the Hartford Convention, or the Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Intentional Mass-Casualty and Active Shooter Events, formed by the American College of Surgeons.

The Hartford Convention was formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which took place in 2012 and resulted in 28 deaths.

The Convention is comprised of representatives from the federal government, the National Security Council, the U.S. military, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and governmental and nongovernmental emergency medical response organizations.

Levy believes that the Stop the Bleed kits will help make Hopkins safer.

“We hope that the kits are never used, but the reality of life is that sometimes really bad things do happen.” 

Levy went on to discuss how the kits can add to campus safety.

“The University invests a tremendous amount of time and resources and talent into keeping the campus safe, but we see the implementation of Stop the Bleed as another way we can contribute to its overall safety,” Levy said. 

Junior Leyla Herbst, the captain of HERO, spoke about how the campaign could empower students. 

“I think it’s really important to empower all the students, all the citizens. You know you don’t need a certification to do something,” she said. 

She also addressed additional upcoming changes to the HERO program.

Recently, the organization purchased a new emergency response vehicle for members to get to an accident more quickly.

In the fall, HERO will have their own ambulance. 

Herbst explained that the new ambulance will benefit both Hopkins students and members of the Baltimore community. 

“If we’re able to have our own ambulance and use even more of our own self-sustaining resources and things like that, we’re able to keep the Baltimore County Fire Department resources in the City, and we’re able to allocate more resources specifically for the students,” she said.

Additionally, Herbst believes that the ambulance will decrease response time and encourage more students to seek necessary medical attention. Ambulances will also become more financially accessible. 

“If we’re able to provide our own transportation at no cost, that’ll also hopesseek medical care when they actually need it,” she said. 

According to Herbst, in the coming year, HERO plans to continue increasing awareness of the Stop the Bleed kits on campus. They will also try to teach more CPR courses to students, faculty and staff. 

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