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March 13, 2024

ThedaCare Continues “Stop the Bleed” Training to Help Save Lives

Nearly 2,000 People Trained in Northeast and Central Wisconsin

In 2018, ThedaCare launched “Stop the Bleed” to the area, a public initiative to teach bystanders how to help in a bleeding incident before professional help arrives. Now, more than five years later, nearly 2,000 local community members have been trained.  

“So often, the first responder to bleeding emergencies is a bystander or family member – not a trained emergency medical responder,” explained Dr. David Schultz, a General Surgeon and Medical Director of ThedaCare’s Level II Trauma Center. “This is why it is so important to train community members how to care for bleeding emergencies. The faster bleeding is stopped, it creates an opportunity for better outcomes for that person.” 

Stop the Bleed, a nationwide initiative, is about teaching basic rules to help bystanders stop the bleeding on the extremities during an emergency situation. The Stop the Bleed education program is modeled after the U.S. Army’s effort to equip soldiers with trauma supplies and the knowledge to use them. Stop the Bleed is maintained by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons, the same organization that verifies ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah as a Level II Trauma Center.

In some instances, as part of the program, kits with basic medical supplies to stop bleeding, such as gauze and tourniquets, are placed in public buildings next to automated external defibrillators (AEDs). During training sessions, people learn how to apply pressure, pack a wound and apply a tourniquet, if necessary.

Dr. Schultz has often compared learning how to stop bleeding to the importance of learning basic CPR. As with CPR, this training can be used anywhere – in the field after a farming accident, on the highway following a motorcycle crash, or in the shop of the hobbyist woodworker.

“The initiative is designed to help non-medically trained people recognize life-threatening bleeding and then provide helpful interventions,” Dr. Schultz said. “The earlier care can be provided to victims, the better. You can reduce the chances of a person going into shock, decrease complications and potentially help patients be in a better condition when trained medical responders arrive.”

Training the Public

In recent years, ThedaCare has partnered with the Fox Valley Regional Trauma Advisory Council (FOXRTAC) to expand Stop the Bleed training. FOXRTAC is an organization that is dedicated to supporting area hospitals and systems to improve the quality of care and outcomes including injury prevention, reducing the severity of injuries and decreasing the number of deaths in the region.

Since launching the campaign in the area, ThedaCare and FOXRTAC partners have trained community members how to provide care to bleeding victims until EMTs arrive at various locations including at schools, business, festivals and more.

“Emergency situations, traumatic injuries and the sight of blood can be overwhelming for many people,” said Dr. Schultz. “Stop the Bleed training provides vital information, necessary skills and reassurance so people can help others in need until emergency responders arrive.”

As the only Level II trauma center in the Fox Cities, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah continues to educate community members, Dr. Schultz said.

On March 12, 2024, ThedaCare, along with partners from RTAC, trained nearly 100 nursing students at UW-Oshkosh. This training has taken place for the past several years, and is one of the largest groups experiencing Stop the Bleed education. 

“Through these trainings, such as the one at UW-Oshkosh, those who receive the training can then share that training and information with others,” said Dr. Schultz. “We are encouraged that Stop the Bleed has a ripple effect, touching the lives of more people in our communities.” 

According to the national Stop the Bleed program, more than 2.6 million people have been trained through the campaign.