Suburban Hospital Teaching ‘Stop the Bleed’ Course

After the Boston Marathon bombing and other tragedies across the United States, health professionals realized people were dying from wounds because first responders couldn’t get to patients fast enough.

Because of that, the “Stop the Bleed” campaign began to teach everyday people how they can use tourniquets and other items to prevent patients from losing too much blood before they reach assistance.

“They realized people were dying because they were bleeding out, and if we could just get to them in time … but that’s the problem you, can’t get to them in time,” said Voula McDonough, a Suburban Hospital nurse.

McDonough described a class the hospital has been teaching for about a year at an emergency preparedness fair held Wednesday at the Johns Hopkins University campus in Rockville.

About 200 people have taken the class over the past year, she said.

In addition to the use of tourniquets, the class teaches the different kinds of wounds and how to use everyday items — like belts and ties — to stop bleeding.

Deeper wounds require packing. Some expensive kits are available with special gauze to help stop bleeding. But, McDonough said, if that’s not available, use whatever cloth is available. Then apply pressure.

“Your patient’s not going to like this, and that’s OK. You’re saving a life,” she said.

The fair included booths from a number of police and fire agencies offering information and tips to consumers. Hopkins’ Ellen Poltilove said about 300 to 400 attended Wednesday’s event, which coincided with the Shady Grove Farmers Market. September is National Preparedness Month.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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