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Penn State Health St. Joseph launches “Stop The Bleed” in Berks County Schools

March 1, 2018 Penn State Health St. Joseph announced Thursday at a launch event at Schuylkill Valley High School that it was collaborating with the Berks County Scholastic Athletic Trainers Association on a county-wide, multi-year public health training program to educate the Berks Community on the role bystanders can play in saving the lives of victims who sustain injuries that lead to uncontrolled bleeding.

The program will be rolled out to the county’s 18 school districts, with a 90-minute training session for district staff and with future free training events for the public. St. Joseph also will donate wall-mounted “Stop the Bleed” units to the more than 110 school-affiliated buildings in the Berks community over a three-year period.

St. Joseph’s leader of Emergency Preparedness, Chris Chamberlain, said Stop the Bleed is focused on teaching easy-to-learn techniques to control severe bleeding resulting from traumatic injuries. The training is conducted by medical professionals during a 90-minute course, which involves the use of a device that simulates a severe bleeding injury.

Chamberlain says immediate intervention of bystanders can make the difference between life and death for a victim awaiting arrival of an ambulance. “People who are bleeding uncontrollably can die within five minutes,” Chamberlain, a nurse, explained.

Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christopher Newman, says the effect of bystander intervention should not be underestimated.

“Doctors and nurses can do some amazing work but the patient has to make it to the ER,” he said. “Members of the public who are properly trained in Stop the Bleed are really giving victims a significant chance at survival.”

Dr. Newman said that by intervening “bystanders ‘buy’ a victim time until EMS arrives. The on scene intervention by EMS is vital because it ‘buys’ more time for victims to be transported to an Emergency Room that is a fully staffed and equipped to handle just about anything.”

St. Joseph CEO John Morahan said this initiative has been under consideration for some time and that the launch, “so soon after the most recent national tragedy in Florida is purely coincidental, though sadly pertinent.”

“As healthcare professionals, we provide care for every person at any time with any type of illness or injury,” he said. “But we can only do our work if the patients can make it to our (ER) doors.”

He noted that the hospital’s EMS partners, like Steve Bobella, the leader of Northern Berks EMS who attended the event, “can work miracles in the field” but, at times, they, “too have to rely on the heroic efforts of bystanders if their pre-hospital intervention is to have effect.”

Morahan said quick-thinking, active participation of bystanders is key to “stopping an uncontrolled bleed.” He said that many victims of the Boston marathon bombings in 2013 had bystanders to thank for their survival.

“The immediate actions by others meant the difference between life and death that April day,” he said. “We all have the capacity to jump in and help. With a little bit of training and the right tools you can save a life.”

Audrey Dickman, President of the Berks County Scholastic Athletic Trainers’ Association and Head Athletic Trainer at Exeter Township Senior High School, says athletic trainers are often the most highly visible and mobile clinicians working in a secondary school setting and often respond to non-athletics related medical situations.

“Public safety, injury and illness prevention, and early intervention are keystones to the practice of athletic training, and this campaign encompasses all three so it’s a natural fit for the members of BCSATA to be a partner in this program,” she explains. “With Stop the Bleed we are looking to prepare our school staff and the public at large to respond to people with injuries that are often very treatable.”

The Stop the Bleed kits provided to the schools will be stocked with tourniquets, pressure dressings and gauze bandages, gloves, face shields, and hand sanitizer.

About Stop The Bleed:
In October 2015, the White House and the American College of Surgeons launched Stop the Bleed(r), 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. Penn State Health St. Joseph is licensed by the Department of Defense to partner in the Stop the Bleed program.
For more information regarding this program, visit www.thefutureofhealthcare.org/stopthebleed