Local Hospitals Working to ‘Stop the Bleed’


(WTAJ) – The doctors at Conemaugh Hospital are working to encourage ordinary people to step up and help people in critical conditions because even you can save someone’s life.

Emergency responders save lives everyday, but what happens in those critical moments before EMS arrives on scene? “Time is of the essence, it’s not always a matter of being able to get somebody to the hospital first – it’s a matter of what you can do on the scene first” says says Registered Nurse, Ashley Downing.

And in the case where a patient is severely bleeding, seconds matter. “If your partner or yourself isn’t prepared to stop the bleeding it can be the difference between life and death for our neighbors and family members” says Dr. Russell Dumire.

The ‘Stop the Bleed’ campaign aims to prepare the public to save lives if people nearby are severely bleeding. The staff at Conemaugh Nason Hospital hosts classes for people working in the medical field and the general public. People attending the class learn tips on how to use a tourniquet, pack wounds and the importance of responding quickly.

Ashley Downing works at Conemaugh Nason Hospital as a registered nurse. she says when your body loses a significant amount of blood, your body reacts – “You go into shock – your organs start to shut down and then it becomes a bigger problem than just the cut that you originally had” says Ashley.

Dr. John Baker says in many cases people are worried that they’ll do something wrong. “it doesn’t take any specialized equipment – it doesn’t take any specialized training what it takes is the desire to help someone.” Baker says bleeding out is the second leading cause of death in our area. He’s worked as the emergency services director at Conemaugh Nason for over 13 years and during his time, he’s seen a lot. “We see a lot of the industrial farming accidents, traumatic amputations, chainsaw injuries, motor vehicle collisions – those are the more common things that we see.”

In many circumstances – the time it takes to wait for emergency medical services to respond can delay the process of saving a life

“By the time they get there if the patient has been bleeding for 5, 10, 15 minutes – for every ten minutes that they’re actively bleeding – that’s a 10% chance of mortality,” says Dr. Baker.

The Trauma Medical Director at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Dumire says just like CPR, you too can take preventative measures to help someone or yourself. Dumire says, “it’s just the information and the confidence level for someone to step in and say, “hey I can do this.”

Stepping in and stepping up – could mean the difference of life or death. The staff at Conemaugh will continue to offer these free courses on stop the bleed in our area.

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