Lay Public to Get Training in Treating Gunshot Bleeds

Mass shootings have become so common that doctors groups are supporting a Homeland Security proposal to train the general public in treating hemorrhage.

In a grim sign of the times American Medical Association delegates plan to support a resolution that would put emergency supplies of tourniquets and bandages on airplanes and in other public places as “bleeding control kits.” The proposal also calls for teaching the public how to use them.

“We are acutely aware that we live in a world with mass shooting and bombings,” said a delegate representing the Connecticut delegation to the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, IL.

The resolution calls for providing the kits as a response readiness initiative endorsed by 35 agencies and the federal Department of Homeland Security through its “Stop the Bleed” website.

The site is meant for the general public and informs readers that a person with a severe hemorrhage can bleed to death in five minutes. It offers instructions on how to use compresses and tourniquets.

“No one should die from an uncontrolled hemorrhage,” is the message, part of a series of recommendations known as the Hartford Consensus meant to help more people survive mass casualty incidents.

Given the morning’s news about the horrific shooting that killed 50 people in an Orlando, FL, the resolution triggered little debate, though Ken Maddox, MD of the Texas delegation said it was important to stress educating the public, “not just selling gadgets” in the form of the kits.

The resolution struck a chord with Theodore Zanker, MD, a Connecticut psychiatrist who chaired the AMA subcommittee discussing the resolutions today.

“I was at Sandy Hook,” Zanger said, referring to the December 2012 mass murder of school children in Connecticut.

In an interview he said he had been called in within 24 hours of the event to help counsel survivors.

That experience, coupled with the Orlando attack convinced him “The world’s going crazy,” he said.

In the resolution introduced by the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Emergency physicians and other societies, the text notes that “active shooter events have occurred in 40 out of 50 state and the District of Columbia” and that many of the victims bled to death.