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'Stop the bleed' increases shooting victim survival rate

Saint Luke's ER
Posted at 10:21 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 23:48:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Frontline workers at emergency rooms throughout Kansas City make it their mission to keep shooting victims from becoming another statistic.

"It does bother me to have a 19-year-old who's paralyzed or worse yet a 16-year-old who's dead because of a gunshot wound," Dr. Sean Nix, trauma director at Saint Luke's Hospital, said.

Nix oversees the trauma department, which mobilizes a large team before an ambulance even arrives.

"We have everything we need to control bleeding, control an airway, assess the patient from head to toe rapidly, get them imaging or we can get them to the O.R. within minutes," Nix said.

Over the past decade, they also have made sure there's a constant blood supply standing by.

"But the timeframe went from 60-70 minutes, you know, down to 18 minutes, so suddenly [you've] got a patient who had been bleeding in the past for a long time," Nix said. "Now, we included in our trauma response team [a] blood bank, so that's an addition that we used to not have."

Another way people are surviving is through a technique learned in the war zone.

"We want to stop the patient from going into shock or cardiac arrest or losing other blood," Nix said. "Well, the best way to do that stop the bleed."

Whether it's holding pressure or putting on a tourniquet, it's a method Saint Luke's is committed to teaching law enforcement and civilians.

"If you can stop the bleed in the field, you can stop the bleed before the patient gets to me, and they're not in shock, it's a whole lot easier to save your life," Nix said.

According to KCPD, there have been more than 1,700 nonfatal shootings since 2018.

So far in 2021, 213 people have survived after getting shot. At the same time last year, 260 people made it through a shooting.

"At the end of the day, you want to return them back to their family and their loved ones and you want to give them a second chance," Nix said.

To learn more about Saint Luke's 'Stop the Bleed' program, visit the hospital website.