UNC Medical Students Lead Week of “Stop The Bleed” Workshops

“Stop The Bleed” (STB) is a nationwide initiative focused on teaching the basic techniques of bleeding control. Student Interdepartmental “Stop The Bleed” Interest Group Co-founder and instructor Elexis Hollingsworth led the week-long workshop for School of Medicine students.

October 23, 2019

UNC’s “Stop the Bleed” initiative is giving medical students the chance to become immediate responders during life-threatening situations. “Stop The Bleed” is a national organization founded in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Shooting. In an effort to increase survivability due to an active shooter or a mass-casualty event, the American College of Surgeons developed the Hartford Consensus, a set of national policy recommendations. Through the partnership between the American College of Surgeons, the Committee on Trauma, and the Hartford Consensus, the “Stop the Bleed” program was born.

Medical student and “Stop The Bleed” instructor Elexis Hollingsworth wanted to increase preparedness at UNC-Chapel Hill, so she wrote a proposal to the School of Medicine.

“Aside from just having this important life skill, I think it’s similar to CPR in the sense that everyone should know how to stop life-threatening bleeding, especially medical students,” said Hollingsworth. “Our community looks to medical students and medical providers as leaders and would look to them in any sort of event to be able to control the bleeding and potentially save a life.”

After the pilot was approved by the School of Medicine, the organization began its “Stop The Bleed” week in October with five sessions each day. The courses are about an hour to two hours long depending on the number of participants.

“If the pilot goes well there is potential for this training to be integrated into the UNC School of Medicine curriculum, which would add approximately 190 Stop The Bleed certified instructors to UNC’s campus each year,” said Hollingsworth.

During its first week on campus, more than 80 students signed up for the course. Second-year medical student Nathan Nelson-Maney was among the many students that attended the program.

“I signed up because I don’t feel comfortable doing first aid and care for traumatic bleeding,” Nelson-Maney said. “And I think that’s an important thing both because I’m going to be a physician one day and encounter this. But also because with the increasing of shooting events around the country, I feel like this is something I should be able to help with.”

To help prevent death from hemorrhage, some of the basic techniques included how to apply direct pressure, wound packing, and tourniquet application.

“We teach folks how to apply pressure effectively,” Hollingsworth said. “We also teach people how to pack a wound, if it’s deep enough, and apply pressure on top of that.”

In addition to “Stop The Bleed” courses, the student group will be installing approximately 120 bleeding control kits across campus this fall thanks to a $5,000 grant from UNC’s Parents Council. The kits will be small enough to fit inside an AED case, and they’ll be placed in high traffic areas.

“We’re working with Environmental Health and Safety on putting the kit locations on a map, so people can look on their phone and see where these kits are in case there’s an emergency,” said Hollingsworth.

UNC faculty and staff supervisors are Beat Steiner, MD, MPH; Sarah Smithson, MD,MPH;  Johanna Foster, MPA; and Jana Nietmann, MA.

Students, faculty, or staff interested in requesting STB classes can visit their website: http://uncstopthebleed.web.unc.edu/

By Brittany Phillips, UNC Health Care communications specialist

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