About Orlando, Paris, San Bernadino, and Everyplace Else

Knowing me, I’ll bet you thought this would be about gun control.  Nope.  If you know me, you know where I stand. I’m not going to convince those who disagree with me and they’re unlikely to change me either.

What most of us agree on is that we have to DO SOMETHING.  I agree.  One death from violence is one too many.  And then, my good friend Kelly Grayson made a post on Facebook that inspired me. Kelly suggested that so many people in Orlando didn’t have the training or tools to provide lifesaving care.

Then it hit me.  We in EMS and the medical field have been encouraging the public to learn CPR and how to use an AED.  We’ve been doing it for years to help save lives in cases of sudden cardiac arrest.  It’s time to do the same for bleeding control.  Just like in sudden cardiac arrest, severe bleeding is a time-sensitive emergency.  By the time that EMS arrives, the patient may be dead.  Just like in sudden cardiac arrest, bystander care can change the dynamic.

The National Association of EMTs offers a class called B-Con that addresses simple strategies for bleeding control and initial airway management.  The class is designed for and is appropriate for the general public. In the event of another tragedy of violence, it’s quite likely that medical providers won’t enter the scene until law enforcement has controlled the threat.  In Orlando, that took over three hours.  It will literally take minutes to bleed to death from an uncontrolled severe hemorrhage.  With the military’s training on bleeding control, shock management, and initial airway management, I’d argue that right now, your chances of surviving from being shot in a combat zone are better than for the average civilian.  That has to change.  And the change begins here.  Now.

Until the possibilities of violence and accidents are eliminated from the world, which is an unlikely proposition, we need to make the knowledge and tools to stop bleeding as accessible as CPR and AEDs.  The public needs education on stopping bleeding and access to bandages and tourniquets.

The skills to save a life are accessible to the general public.  EMS professionals have the tools to teach these skills.  Let’s make it happen. This.  This is how we do something.  This is how we remember Orlando, Paris, San Bernadino, Newtown, and everyplace else.



  1. It’s almost as if trauma is the neglected disease of modern society…Oh wait… I have heard that somewhere before…

  2. “Today, the Administration launched the “Stop the Bleed” campaign to provide people with the tools and knowledge to stop life threatening bleeding in the event of an emergency situation. ”

    October 6, 2015, White House, https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/10/06/stop-bleed

    and https://www.dhs.gov/stopthebleed

    • theambulancechaser says

      I consider myself fairly well informed about what’s going on both in government and medicine. And if I haven’t heard, who else hasn’t heard the message?

  3. John Fekety says

    You make a great point and I am fortunate enough to be here to vouch for how far a little training can go. While studying for my First Responder exam (MANY years ago), my then 14 y/o son asked what I was doing. When I told him I was studying for the exam, he said, as any smartass 14 y/o would, “I can answer those questions without even looking at the book.” I made him sit down and we began asking each other the review questions. It turned out to be fortunate that there were some airway questions involved. Several nights later I had a seizure from a medication reaction. From what I have been told, I had snoring respirations and I was turning that nice shade of bluish-gray we are all familiar with. David knelt down, did a head-tilt-chin-lift, the snoring stopped and I went back to my normal pale of winter color. With just a couple of minutes of talking about airway control, he saved my life.

  4. Lavonne Dinerman says

    Agree 100% – “The public needs education on stopping bleeding and access to bandages and tourniquets.” And what do they have on them at this moment that they can use for a bandage or tourniquets :: scarf, shirt, bra, socks, electrical cord, heavy rubber band, hold c-spine, etc. Don’t preach sterile when seconds count, preach React.