Stop the Bleed, Save a Life

Stop the Bleed, Save a Life

It’s a simple fact: when you control the bleeding of an injury, you increase the victim’s chance of survival. Data shows that 25% of all fatalities from trauma might have been prevented if bleeding had been controlled.

“Since 9/11, there have been two million traumatic deaths in the U. S.,” says Peter Thomas, DO, Director of Trauma at St. Luke’s University Health Network. “Proper training and equipment might have saved a half-million of those people.” 

Last November, Cpl. Seth Kelly of the Pennsylvania State Police was severely wounded in an intense gun battle, yet managed to apply a tourniquet to himself.  Dr. Thomas, one of the surgeons who treated him, credits the trooper’s quick action with helping save his own life.   

Cpl. Kelly’s case is what gave St. Luke’s new “Stop the Bleed” program its impetus. The public health initiative is intended to train and equip civilians and uniformed personnel to handle severe-bleeding situations.

“The concept first grew out of the Sandy Hook school shooting,” says Dr. Thomas. “Experts from trauma, emergency medicine, law enforcement, and other fields came together to devise a strategy to train and equip pre-hospital care providers to control severe bleeding.” 

An essential aspect of the initiative is hands-on training. St. Luke’s offers free in-hospital sessions for interested members of the public, but “Stop the Bleed” is really aimed at larger groups—police, EMTs, schools, and community organizations. “We teach the proper way to apply a tourniquet to an extremity and how to use hemostatic packing for other wounds.” 

St. Luke’s also sells (at cost) bleeding-control kits that include a tourniquet and ample supply of QuikClot® dressings, ranging in size from belt-worn kits to eight-kit packs for school use. 

“You never know where or when traumatic injuries will happen,” Dr. Thomas adds. “The sooner we can control the bleeding, the more lives we’ll save.”   

To register for training, request a kit, or to make a donation, visit

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