Congressman Steve Scalise may have bled to death on the baseball field he was shot on today if not for the immediate medical help he received before EMS arrived.
Scalise reportedly lay bleeding for 10 minutes before police took down the shooter. Only then was it safe enough for his colleagues to begin first aid.
Tulane trauma surgeon Dr. Rebecca Schroll, who is trained to save lives of gun shot victims, says the first thing you need to do is stop the bleeding.
Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama and others used their belts as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of a staffer shot in the leg. Congressman Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, a podiatrist and Iraqi veteran, used his military training to cut Scalise's pants open and apply pressure to his hip wound to stop the bleeding.
"It's really, really fortunate that in this situation, you know, that there was somebody there that had had those kind of basic techniques from the military," Dr. Schroll said. "They may have saved lives today."
The late Charity Hospital trauma surgeon, world renown Dr. Norman McSwain, was instrumental in developing the battlefield trauma care techniques and training methods for the military. One, was having all soldiers equipped with tourniquets and special dressing for bleeding injuries.
He was also one of the founders of the program that teaches EMS and everyday people worldwide these life-saving field techniques.
Now, UMC and doctors from Tulane and LSU Health Sciences Center will begin programs to teach all of us how to do the same, using tourniquets above the wound to stop bleeding of the arms and legs, and how to apply pressure and pack a wound if it's in the torso.
"The idea is to get as many people in the community trained as possible that could respond, not just in a mass casualty event, but everyday emergencies when somebody hurts themselves and is bleeding," Dr. Schroll said. "In this day and age, everybody needs to know how to stop bleeding."
The free, one-hour course will roll out later this summer for schools, businesses and the community. They also want to have bleeding control kits available.
And like everything else, tourniquets are available on the internet and of course, work much better than belts or scarves.
The schedule for these classes has not been determined yet, but should be released in about a month. Eyewitness News will publish that schedule when it is available.