In an effort to create active bystanders at USF and within the community, USF Health is providing students with training on how to treat a life-threatening injury.
Under their involvement with the national Stop the Bleed program, USF Health recently implemented a two-hour training course that prepares non-medical students in aiding a traumatic bleed. The Stop the Bleed program was launched in 2015 after the Sandy Hook shootings.
Donald Mullins, the director of Safety and Preparedness at USF Health, said the class serves to help individuals take action in multiple situations that don’t necessarily have to revolve around mass shootings.
According to Mullins, there are many unexpected instances in which being an active bystander is necessary.
“Most people think about the things that happened in the South Florida schools or Pulse Nightclub and those are the things people organically think of when they think of my class,” Mullins said. “But I also want to point out that I listen to the radio on the way to work and I probably hear of 20 to 40 car accidents every morning.”
Due to lack of knowledge in traumatic bleeding cases, Mullins said many people often don’t know how to help a person with detrimental bleeding, so they usually decide to wait for professional help to arrive.
Unfortunately, the little time of inactiveness between calling for help and help actually arriving could lead to the death of the person with a trauma-related injury.
Mullins said the class helps students remove the barrier of not taking action.
“I think people are afraid of what they don’t know and what they don’t have experience with,” Mullins said. “When they (non-medically trained people) are confronted with injuries where there is visible trauma, that can be very unexpected and I think this class kind of takes away some of the fear.”
With bleeding control kits distributed and an instructor dedicated to eight students per session, the class initially explains what a trauma-related bleeding is. It then discusses where bleeds usually occur and the types of injuries that cause those bleeds.
Mullins said the bleeding control kits that are used in the classes contain tourniquets, gauze and gloves. While students are taught how to use these items properly during training, Mullins mentioned that the class teaches students on how to use resources at hand when kits aren’t accessible.
“We also talk about what to do if you don’t have the tourniquet or some type of hemostatic dressing,” Mullins said. “We talk about how to use everyday items, so that we can empower people to not just be prepared when they see the kit, but be prepared in their everyday life.”
Jesse Casanova, the International Programs PCMI coordinator for the College of Public Health, said the training class was comprehensible and hands on. The moderator (Mullins) made the learning experience fairly easy, according to Casanova.
Casanova said he wanted the knowledge so he could be prepared for the worst.
“There’s always a possibility of an urgent thing happening, and you to be able to be there and not just be a bystander,” Casanova said. “But actually help and assist in stopping a bleed until professionals arrive. That’s something I really wanted to do.”
Mullins said training has been given to Straz Center employees, members of the Tampa Downtown Partnership and individuals in the downtown USF Health for the past six months.
Though training classes for USF just started about a month ago, Mullins said the large flow of students wanting to attend the classes caused spaces to fill up quickly.
While Mullins is making adjustments to fit all those who reach out for certain session dates, the bleeding control kits used in the training classes have already been placed in University Police (UP) vehicles.
This one step to a safer USF is an achievement for Mullins, but his eventual goal is to have the trauma kits embedded into everyday society.
“I think we would expect to see bleeding control kits in a variety of public places,” Mullins said. “From our schools, to the places we shop, to where we work. I would see them as a new part of how we help each other.”