MedWatch Today: Woman credits ‘Stop the Bleed’ class to being alive today

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Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign that aims to train people on what to do if they or someone around them needs help in an emergency before first responders arrive. A Fresno woman credits being alive today to what she learned at a Stop the Bleed class at Clovis Community’s HealthQuest.

Kathleen Harrison has spent her life taking care of horses.

“It’s just a pleasure, you get an opportunity to interact with nature more, they are always thrilled to see you, and it’s very fun,” stated Kathleen.

She’s always lived on a ranch, often in remote parts of Fresno County. Last Summer, Kathleen was living on one off McKinley avenue.

Kathleen commented, “It’s a large parcel. It’s a former showcase horse breeding facility.”

She said her neighbors were on vacation, so there wasn’t anyone around when she was out trying to fix a t-post wire fence that had been partially bent out of place.

“The t-post fence was crooked and in a position where, if the horse up front had started to wander around, she might have in fact cut herself,” said Kathleen.

Concerned about the safety of her horse, Kathleen describes how she grabbed the t-post to try to align the fence.

“Pulling them to straighten them up after the other horses had pushed them away, and it recoiled on me and took the wrist,” explained Kathleen.

Kathleen’s cut on her left wrist was so deep, her ligaments were exposed. There was no one around to help. Kathleen had to go into action herself.

She said, “So I remembered to elevate it, had only a rag in my pocket, but banded that around so that I was able to hold pressure.”

Just a few months prior to cutting herself, Kathleen had attended a Stop the Bleed seminar at Community Medical Centers. It was there where she learned about the nationwide program.

UCSF Fresno Assistance Trauma Director Dr. Lawrence Sue explained, “The whole thrust of this program was to empower the lay individual to want to do something or to be able to have the knowledge to do something.”

Dr. Sue said Stop the Bleed was put together after several mass shootings at schools showed many victims had died from bleeding.

“It takes about 20 to 25 minutes for the first rescues to occur, and when someone’s bleeding, especially heavily bleeding, that’s too long,” warned Dr. Sue.

In a traumatic incident, if someone loses between 30 to 40 percent of their total blood volume, their body will likely go into shock, or they can possibly die, according to Dr. Sue. Stop the Bleed teaches people to not only help others in need, but also themselves.

“With the information I got from Stop the Bleed, to bind it, no bleeding, and drive myself to the hospital,” recalled Kathleen.

Stop the Bleed gives people the knowledge to do a quick assessment of an injury, apply direct pressure to the wound, pack the wound, and apply a tourniquet if one is available. A tourniquet is a tight band used to control bleeding by completely stopping the blood flow to a wound.

Dr. Sue said an incident like what happened to Kathleen, illustrates that the tools taken away from Stop the Bleed can be used at anytime.

“It doesn’t have to be a disaster or a massive casualty incident or shooting or anything like that, it can be in your house,” stated Dr. Sue.

Kathleen said she doesn’t know what would have happened had she not had the knowledge from Stop the Bleed to help herself. But, she’s very glad she did.

She ended, “I quite frankly probably would have gone into shock.”

Community Medical Centers offers Stop the Bleed courses on the fourth Tuesday of every month. To register, email stopthebleed@communitymedical.org or call (559) 459-5133.

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