STOP THE BLEED® Program Provides Thousands of Vermonters with Life-Saving Training

September 7, 2023 by Jennifer Nachbur

Earlier this year, the University of Vermont Medical Center’s STOP THE BLEED® Program celebrated its five-year anniversary. Since 2018, more than 5,500 Vermont citizens have received life-saving training to stop bleeding in traumatic scenarios.

A STOP THE BLEED instructor models a T-shirt highlighting the main steps to stop bleeding—CALL 911, PRESS, HOLD.

Whether the cause is a gunshot, car accident, or chainsaw injury, severe bleeding can cause death in as little as five minutes – often before first responders arrive on the scene. STOP THE BLEED® empowers individuals to know how to both spot the signs of life-threatening bleeding and what to do to help save lives in a bleeding emergency. 

Earlier this year, the University of Vermont Medical Center’s STOP THE BLEED® Program celebrated its five-year anniversary. Since 2018, more than 5,500 Vermont citizens have received life-saving training to stop traumatic bleeding.
 
STOP THE BLEED is the result of a collaborative effort led by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma to bring knowledge of bleeding control to the public. According to the STOP THE BLEED Coalition, the STOP THE BLEED campaign is based on lessons learned by the U.S. Department of Defense during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on how best to control severe bleeding. The initiative’s goal is to train and equip private citizens to use medically proven bleeding control practices to save the lives of people who have suffered a traumatic injury involving severe blood loss.
The free class requires no prior medical experience and consists of a presentation, opportunities for discussion, and a hands-on learning station. 

“The STOP THE BLEED training course is essentially one hour to teach people what is a life-threatening injury and what can be done, and people can actually do what they have just been taught to do,” explained Ajai Malhotra, M.D., UVM professor of surgery and chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery, in a STOP THE BLEED© educational video produced by the UVM Medical Center.

According to BleedingControl.org, 20 percent of people who died from traumatic injuries could have survived if they had received bleeding control treatment more quickly. In a May 2023 UVM Medical Center press release, Christine Dillon, M.H.S., an injury prevention coordinator at UVM Medical Center and the Vermont state coordinator of the UVM’s STOP THE BLEED program, said “Bystanders will always be first on the scene, and in an emergency, you as a bystander have the ability to save a life.” 
 
UVM Medical Center’s collaborative approach to public training has contributed to the program’s statewide expansion. Currently, there are more than 580 active instructors that provide trainings in Vermont. UVM injury prevention coordinators have set up an online system of registration and a sign-out program for training kits that make it easy for trained instructors to access the tools needed to deliver the course. 
 
“Unfortunately, we live in a world of gun violence, workplace accidents, and accidents that occur while people are enjoying life,” said Alia Aunchman, M.D., the Vermont state champion for STOP THE BLEED and an assistant professor of surgery in UVM’s Division of Acute Care Surgery. “We have seen firsthand how the information and skills learned in this course have saved lives in our community.” 
 
The UVM STOP THE BLEED video highlights how youth skier Jonathan Davis’s life was saved following a routine wipeout on a Vermont slalom course in 2019. Davis suffered a laceration that damaged major arteries in one of his legs and was saved by bystanders who quickly applied a tourniquet to his injured leg. The bystanders credited UVM’s STOP THE BLEED training program with giving them the knowledge to come to his aid.
UVM’s STOP THE BLEED program coordinates with trainers across the state of Vermont to schedule trainings. All that is needed to host a training are a room for the session, a computer, and a projector for a PowerPoint presentation. STOP THE BLEED trainers provide the necessary materials for the hands-on portion of the training.

Individual personal bleeding control kits are also available through the UVM Medical Center STOP THE BLEED© program at a reasonable price through the injury prevention office. For more information, email InjuryPrevention@uvmhealth.org.
 
For more information about hosting a training, attending a training, or becoming a trainer for UVM Medical Center’s STOP THE BLEED Training Program, please email BleedingControl@UVMhealth.org .
 
(This article incorporates content from a May 2023 press release issued by the UVM Medical Center.)

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