By Ramin A. KhaliliMay 30, 2019
After a deployment to Iraq, a ten-year stint in the Special Forces, and countless hours of medical training sprinkled in between, Joe Ogershock knows how to save a victim of traumatic bleeding.
"First thing's first," said the Senior Medical Trainer for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command during the second annual "National Stop the Bleed Day" event on May 23, "you've got to find the wound and then put pressure on it as fast as you can to slow the blood flow."
"And this thing right here," he continued, pulling a brand new black tourniquet from its packaging, "is the best tool for the job."
Establishing the importance of tourniquet usage is one of the key tenets of the international "Stop the Bleed" campaign, which created the annual "National Stop the Bleed Day" event in order to promote the concept of bleeding control training in communities across the country. The event at Fort Detrick was held on Blue and Gray Field and drew more than 110 enlisted personnel, DOD civilians and contractors for a series of hands-on training events designed to teach the proper way to save a life during a bleeding emergency.
"Mass trauma is the biggest health crisis of this generation, so we've got to spread the word," said Col. Michael Davis, Director of the USAMRMC Combat Casualty Care Research Program. Davis currently serves as the head of the "Stop the Bleed" campaign, which the CCCRP initially developed at the direct request of the National Security Council before launching the effort at the White House in late 2015.
"The goal is to take this information directly to the public," said Davis, who addressed event attendees on the importance of bleeding control awareness prior to the day's first training session. "We need to give them the knowledge and tools that can save lives."
Those simple steps--the use of pressure, wound-packing techniques, and an increased reliance on tourniquets--contributed to a 67 percent decrease in fatalities caused by extremity bleeding during recent U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as compared with previous U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It was this overall success that led the NSC to direct the development of the "Stop the Bleed" campaign in the first place, hoping to encourage everyday Americans to save lives in the wake of mass trauma events like vehicle crashes and active shooter incidents.
So far, more than 320 public and private sector organizations have signed licensing agreements to promote the campaign, including the Boy Scouts of America, the American Heart Association, the FBI, ABC Studios, and a slew of universities, non-profit entities, and law enforcement and first responder agencies across the country. The "Stop the Bleed" brand has even attracted spokespeople like daytime talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, who recently featured the campaign on his syndicated television program.
"This campaign is just constantly growing," said Davis. "It's great to see."
Similarly for Ogershock, a certified Emergency Medical Technician, certified Tactical Combat Casualty Care trainer, and--just recently--fully-accredited "Stop the Bleed" trainer, the benefit comes from empowering the public.
"I tell everyone all the time," said Ogershock, "when in doubt, stop the bleed."