Amid a surge of interpersonal violence and vehicle crashes reported in Portland and across the region, Oregon Health & Science University is offering a straightforward training for the public to stop bleeding and save lives.
Notably, it’s not the injury itself that often kills people; rather, it’s the bleeding that occurs afterward.
“Bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death for injured patients ages 1 to 46,” said Heather Wong, R.N., administrative director of the OHSU trauma program. “Participating in Stop the Bleed training will teach you how to manage life-threatening bleeding, no matter the cause, improve patient outcomes and potentially save their life.”
OHSU has been holding Stop the Bleed training courses for the public since shortly after the national project began in 2016 as a partnership among emergency medical service providers, the American College of Surgeons and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense.
OHSU will host a training course open to the public Thursday, May 25, the sixth annual national Stop the Bleed Day.
The training is useful for people of all ages, and teaches how to address any type of injury that causes severe bleeding, whether that’s a motor vehicle crash, accident with a chainsaw or hunting mishap. The course takes about an hour and includes instruction on how to identify severe bleeding — “capital B, Bleeding,” in Wong’s words, with a volume large enough to pool on the ground — and how to stop it through compression, packing and the use of a tourniquet, if needed.
The training is especially useful in light of the surge of community violence in and around Portland.
“With the type of violence that we’re seeing, and the amount of violence, it’s imperative that we have people from the community showing up to make a difference in those moments,” said Roy Moore, co-director of Healing Hurt People’s Community Care team operated by the nonprofit Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, or POIC. “If we know that we can have community members and staff members trained to respond if they are in that unfortunate situation, we can prevent the loss of life.”
In 2022, OHSU began partnering with POIC and its Healing Hurt People program model, whose rapid-response counselors visit victims of violence at the hospital within four hours of arriving for care. The program serves people of color between ages 10 to 44.
OHSU is providing Stop the Bleed training to counselors who may encounter victims in the community.
Moore said the organization is working with OHSU to provide training and bleeding kits for victims of interpersonal violence and their families as they’re discharged from the hospital.
“Stop the Bleed is just like CPR; it’s just like Narcan. We need the community to have the ability and the training to apply pressure or a tourniquet in the time of a traumatic event, because we know it can save lives,” he said. “It takes us all to play a part.”