The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) Board of Trustees approved a $100,000 grant to implement a regional Stop the Bleed initiative, a community outreach, training, and action program that empowers the general public with the first responder skills and equipment necessary to stop or slow life-threatening bleeding.
JHF will support a regional planning effort and provide resources (including bleeding control kits and training) to the local Jewish community and the Foundation’s HIV/AIDS service partners.
Mass casualty events—including shootings, multi-vehicle accidents, and acts of terrorism—have become increasingly common. While emergency interventions may save victims of mass casualty situations, some bleed to death at the scene before medical help arrives. Equipping bystanders with basic first responder skills and tools can quicken intervention times and potentially save lives.
“No one wants to think about mass casualty incidents, but many cities across the U.S.—including Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston, Orlando, and Dallas—have been touched by such tragedies,” says JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD. “It is critically important that our region is as prepared as possible for an emergency situation. That starts with all of us knowing how to stop life-threatening bleeding, similar to how many in the general public can provide CPR [cardiopulmonary resuscitation] to someone in distress.”
Emergency medical technicians, nurses, and other medical providers will disseminate information on Stop the Bleed and conduct train-the-trainer sessions on how to use the bleeding control kits. The kits will primarily be placed in the same, highly-populated locations as automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The kits will include standard tourniquets, hemostatic dressings (which have chemicals that quicken blood clot times), and a just-in-time training card to help civilians provide effective aid.
This local initiative builds on the national Stop the Bleed campaign, which was launched by the Obama Administration in the fall of 2015.
“Under difficult circumstances, it may take 15 to 20 minutes for EMS to arrive on the scene of a mass casualty incident,” says Stop the Bleed partner Andrew Peitzman, MD, distinguished professor of Surgery, Mark M. Ravitch professor and vice-chair, UPMC vice president for Trauma and Surgical Services, who also leads a regional 11 trauma center consortium called the Charles Regional Trauma Council. “People can bleed to death in as little as three to five minutes. With world-class health care and dedicated community partners, we’re uniquely situated in Western Pennsylvania to implement Stop the Bleed on an unprecedented scale. Our goal is to train everyone in our third of the state.”
JHF will convene groups to develop a regional Stop the Bleed plan, including the Emergency Medical Services Institute, the Center for Emergency Medicine (CEM) of Western Pennsylvania, Inc., the Allegheny County Health Department, police and fire departments, schools, houses of worship, hospitals, government representatives, large corporations and retailers, and malls. Convening and planning efforts for Stop the Bleed will begin in 2016, with dissemination of the kits scheduled for late 2016 or early 2017. To increase the availability of bleeding control kits and training across the region, the Stop the Bleed consortium will explore potential federal funding sources and engage additional partners that could underwrite costs, including businesses, philanthropic groups, sports facilities, and cultural institutions.
“We have two choices: either prepare for something that we hope never happens here, or console ourselves after the tragedy by resolving to do better next time,” says Dan Swayze, DrPH, MBA, MEMS, vice president and COO of the CEM of Western Pennsylvania, Inc., a multi-hospital consortium dedicated to the advancement of emergency medicine. “We are grateful to JHF for its partnership and leadership in addressing such an urgent public health issue.”
JHF’s support of Stop the Bleed furthers the Foundation’s 15-year commitment to improving the region’s emergency preparedness and pre-hospital care. Previous JHF initiatives have included providing grants to Jewish agencies and synagogues to enhance their post-9/11 safety systems (2001) and acquire AEDs (2004); funding a study on the types and frequency of errors in EMS in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania (2004); funding an EMS Champions program during which 18 local EMS providers learned and applied healthcare quality improvement methods (2008); leading an EMS mission to Israel for local professionals to learn disaster preparedness concepts and bring them back to Allegheny County (2010); and hosting EMS professionals in the Foundation’s multidisciplinary fellowship programs (2013-15).
“This is a natural offshoot of JHF’s commitment to communities being able to deliver quality emergency care, which is always unscheduled,” says Paul Paris, MD, FACEP, LLD (Hon), senior medical director of UPMC Prehospital Care and chief medical officer of the UPMC Center for Emergency Medicine. “Stop the Bleed offers our community life-saving skills and builds a cultural responsibility to help our fellow citizens in a time of need.”
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is a public charity that offers a unique blend of research, education, grantmaking, and program management to improve population health and the outcomes of care. JHF and its two operating arms, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) and Health Careers Futures (HCF) are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and serve a national and global audience. JHF is also a founding member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). For more information, visit www.jhf.org.