Back to Top Skip to main content

Stop the Bleed: A battlefield innovation on civilian soil

USU's Dr. Craig Goolsby (center) observes as high school students at a conference in Orlando, Florida, practice using a tourniquet after watching a web-based tutorial. Goolsby is researching effective teaching methods as part of a grant to develop a trauma first-aid course for students that incorporates elements of Stop the Bleed. (USU photo by Sarah Marshall) USU's Dr. Craig Goolsby (center) observes as high school students at a conference in Orlando, Florida, practice using a tourniquet after watching a web-based tutorial. Goolsby is researching effective teaching methods as part of a grant to develop a trauma first-aid course for students that incorporates elements of Stop the Bleed. (USU photo by Sarah Marshall)

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Innovation | Medical Research and Development | Emergency Preparedness and Response

A public health campaign called Stop the Bleed builds on lifesaving lessons from military battlefields. The goal is to train Americans of all ages how to successfully respond to bleeding emergencies in traumas from accidents and intentional violence.

"Stop the Bleed is a fantastic way for people to address extremity hemorrhage," said Dr. Craig Goolsby, a former Air Force emergency physician who served two combat tours in Iraq.

Goolsby is vice chair of education in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. He's also science director of USU's National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health. The center is a collaboration of the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs.

"We know that trauma is the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 44," Goolsby said, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While CPR training teaches bystanders how to respond when someone stops breathing, "We didn’t have anything before Stop the Bleed to teach people what to do for hemorrhaging."

Death from blood loss can occur in as little as five minutes, health care experts say. A USU study estimated that about 500 people in the United States die every year from external hemorrhage, Goolsby said.

The centerpiece of Stop the Bleed is the tourniquet. It's an old-school tool that was revived and championed by Dr. Frank Butler. The now-retired Navy ophthalmologist led the Navy Special Warfare Biomedical Research Program from 1990 to 2004. Battlefield trauma care was part of this program.

The U.S. military used tourniquets during World War II, but they were poorly designed and often didn't work, Butler said. After the war, tourniquet use in both the military and civilian sectors ended. "In fact, medics were taught not to use tourniquets," Butler said.

However, Butler read two research papers that noted the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the Vietnam War was extremity hemorrhage. "An estimated 3,400 American lives were lost from failure to apply tourniquets to arm and leg wounds," Butler said.

His research, and subsequent recommendations from a joint study by special operations medical providers and USU, led to the development of a new approach to battlefield trauma care. Tactical Combat Casualty Care, or TCCC, emphasizes that all personnel in the combat zone should be trained to control external hemorrhage with tourniquets.

"Once an intervention has proven to save lives in combat, you immediately start thinking, could this intervention save lives in the civilian sector as well?" Butler said. He was in the group of physicians, military leaders, and law enforcement officials called the Hartford Consensus. They came together after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in December 2012.

The Hartford Consensus advocated for teaching the public how to respond to bleeding emergencies. Their efforts were followed by a White House task force that developed the Stop the Bleed program. It launched in October 2015.

Clint Bond, an Army veteran, is the external and emergency communications director for the Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas. He took the Stop the Bleed course when it was offered by a local health care organization. That organization and a local hospital donated Stop the Bleed kits to the Fort Worth schools, Bond said. The kits include tourniquets, bleeding control and compression bandages, and protectives gloves.

At Bond's urging, all 125 nurses in the Fort Worth school district have received Stop the Bleed training. The nurses, in turn, will train teachers and interested parents.

"Many of these school shooters are using weapons that I'm familiar with from my military days, and they create terrible wounds," Bond said. "We need to be prepared so that if something happens, we're the cavalry, and we'll know what to do until medical help arrives."

However, Goolsby notes, Stop the Bleed's value extends beyond intentional harmful acts. In Massachusetts, first responders have pre-positioned Stop the Bleed kits on remote beaches to aid victims of shark attacks. In Georgia, a school nurse armed with Stop the Bleed training and supplies provided life-saving aid to a fourth-grader who severed an artery in her arm after falling on the school playground.

Through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Goolsby is working with the Red Cross to develop a trauma first-aid course for high school students. The course incorporates elements of Stop the Bleed, he said, and will lead to CPR-like certification. It's expected to roll out in 2021.

In what may be thought of as a full-circle moment, Stop the Bleed has led to a DoD-mandated course for service members in non-combatant roles to learn some critical TCCC skills including external hemorrhage control. Tactical Combat Casualty Care for All Service Members, or TCCC-ASM, launched in May.

More information about Stop the Bleed can be found at the Department of Homeland Security and at USU’s Stop the Bleed page.

You also may be interested in...

NMRTU Everett Hospitalman makes a difference

Article
11/24/2020
Technician wearing a mask, giving a shot to a soldier

For much of 2020, Scott has also done her share and more to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

Air Force doctor retires after 48 years of service

Article
11/20/2020
Uniformed officer standing next to an Air Force seal, wearing a stethoscope around his shoulders

In his civilian career, Thomas maintains a private practice as an anesthesiologist in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Health Readiness

NMRTU Everett staff collaborate to ensure Patient Centered Care

Article
11/16/2020
Image of two military personnel wearing masks

NMRTU Everett was commended by the MHS 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus

Wave PENDLETON sees more MTFs deploy new electronic health record

Article
11/5/2020
Military technician, wearing a mask, in front of a computer screen

Wave PENDLETON is the third major deployment of MHS GENESIS.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

BAMC, Argentine Army medical providers share COVID-19 best practices

Article
11/4/2020
Video teleconference image

U.S. Army South facilitated the virtual subject matter expert (SME) exchange between BAMC and CMMH.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Technology | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Public Health | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Military nurses hold virtual research & evidence-based practice course

Article
10/30/2020
Two nurses, wearing masks, examining a mannequin

Due to the COVID-19 national emergency, the three-day in-person course was abbreviated to a one-day virtual.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Research and Innovation

‘Virtual Ward’ pilot program to reduce hospital stay time

Article
10/30/2020
Man's arm with blood pressure cuff and fingertip pulse oximeter

"The idea is that instead of staying in hospital longer..., patients are released early and can recover in the comfort and privacy of their homes."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Technology | Coronavirus | Public Health

JBLM hosts vital blood drive during COVID-19

Article
10/29/2020
Soldier giving blood

To maintain social distancing requirements, all blood drives are by appointment only.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Public Health | Coronavirus

WRNMMC expands innovation and opens new, permanent drive-thru pharmacy

Article
10/23/2020
Military pharmacist, wearing a mask, looking at bags of prescriptions

The new Prescription Drive-Thru Pick-up will operate similarly as the curbside pharmacy pick-up.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Health Literacy Month 2020

Fort Irwin DENTAC strives to reach readiness perfection

Article
10/21/2020
Image of patient getting a dental exam

To accommodate an entire installation, the dental clinic extended its hours.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS | Combat Support

Specialized robots used to disinfect NH TwentyninePalms

Article
10/21/2020
Hospital personnel standing with a cleaning robot

The robotic units are designed to complement manual cleaning.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Annual flu vaccine remains a health priority during COVID-19 era

Article
10/13/2020
Military personnel getting flu shot

Annual vaccine is a covered TRICARE benefit.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Public Health | Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth's iTClamp wins MHS research award

Article
9/11/2020
Image of a plastic clamp on someone's arm

“Hemorrhage control of bleeding is one our biggest problems in military medicine."

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Innovation | Combat Support

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.