With a tourniquet, anybody could be a hero.
“You don’t need to be a trauma surgeon or even an EMT to do something,” said Dr. Fahd Ali, a trauma surgeon at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.
He helped launch Winthrop’s “Stop the Bleed” classes, a national program that teaches bystanders to save lives by ensuring gravely wounded people do not bleed out in a matter of minutes.
Trainees are taught to apply tourniquets to limbs or pack deep wounds in the groin or armpit with gauze treated with a clotting agent.
Ali said recent tragedies — such as the deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan and the mass shooting in Las Vegas, both in October, and the boat propeller accident at Centerport Yacht Club that killed a 12-year-old boy in July — spurred Winthrop to offer the classes.
The first trainees included lifeguards and instructors from sailing groups, the hospital said in July. Now, the hospital is “drastically” expanding the program, teaching law enforcement personnel, educators and other community members how to stop severe bleeding, in hopes they will teach their skills to others, Ali said.
After taking the course, Mark Warren, a former NYPD sergeant and now Winthrop’s director of security and parking, said: “In general, people want to help, and if you empower them, they don’t necessarily think about it, they just do it.”
During Winthrop’s free two-hour classes, trainees are taught to look for blood-soaked clothing, blood forming a pool or spurting from a wound, and bleeding victims who seem confused or are unconscious.
“Even if you are out in the field and don’t have access to gauze, using a clean cloth, you can pack a wound pretty tightly,” Ali said, noting that any infections can be treated later.
For some head and torso injuries, however, getting the patient to a hospital as fast as possible is the only way to stop internal bleeding, he said.
Groups that wish to take the courses can contact Judy Jax at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-663-8708, Winthrop spokeswoman Anne Kazel-Wilcox said.
Outreach sessions for the public should be announced soon, she added.