A survey of the public regarding bleeding control on March 31, 2016, in collaboration with work by the Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Intentional Mass Casualty and Active Shooters Events, reveals how Americans have not been taught to control bleeding and only a mere few have received adequate training in first aid courses.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, titled ‘The Hartford Consensus: A National Survey of the Public Regarding Bleeding Control’, found out that many civilians are eager to undergo training for a bleeding control course where they could be of use to those that have suffered from mass casualty events.
The survey included 1,051 individuals who were asked questions concerning their willingness to help a bleeding patient in an emergency situation. Out of the 1,051 respondents, 528 answered through cell phones and 523 through landlines in two languages, English and Spanish.
Results revealed that 90 percent of people were deemed physically fit to deliver first aid assistance to those that are injured. Out of these 90 percent individuals, a further 98 percent within the 90 percent declared that they would be ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ if they had to stop the bleeding of a family member. In the same subgroup, 62 percent stated that they would apply pressure or compression to the wound, 36 percent said they would use a tourniquet, 6 percent would wrap or cover the wound with the help of a band aid and the remaining 2 percent proclaimed that they would elevate the injured leg.
Regarding a car crash, 93 percent of respondents expressed that they were somewhat likely to help and try to stop bleeding for a stranger in need with 61 percent of the sample saying they would be ‘very likely’ to help and 31 percent saying they would be ‘somewhat likely’ to help. When asked questions about mass shooting, 75 percent responded that they would offer to help if the scenario seemed safe to do so, 16 percent stated that they’d wait it out and see what happens and the remaining 8 percent said they would not stay there and would leave. When asked about the same situation being deemed safe, 94 percent responded with 62 percent saying they’d be ‘very likely’ to help and 32 percent saying they would be ‘somewhat likely’.
Dr Peter Pons, a physician and researcher at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, says, “The findings highlight the willingness of ordinary citizens to intervene when strangers are severely injured, as well as the need for more widespread first aid training that includes lessons on bleeding control.”
Suggestions and requests have also been put forward for the provision of bleeding control kits including compression dressings, tourniquets and gloves in public areas to make them easily accessible.
Senior Director of Science and Content Development for the American Red Cross, Jonathan Epstein, says, ‘Even without formal training, just about anyone can help in an emergency.’
With the number of ongoing mass shootings and disasters that are taking place almost daily these days, the need for the general public to intervene and help out and the difference that they could make by just stopping the bleeding, was the main motivation behind carrying out this study.
Dr Lenworth Jacobs, the lead author of the study, expresses this fact by saying, “The most critical issue in major bleeding from any source is time.”
Though the authors of the study recognize the limitations of the study by confessing when push comes to shove maybe not all who expressed the need for helping would actually go out and help, Hartford encourages and supports the enthusiasm by saying ‘no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding’.
The market and research firm SSRS (Media, Penn) carried out the field work regarding the survey.