Student Council “Stops the Bleed”

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Feeling for a pulse, juniors Lizzie Bourg and Rachael Hahn, assisted by Ms. Jordan Ruppert, ensure that they have applied a tourniquet correctly. As the Student Council learned during the Stop the Bleed presentation in November, a rescuer must check a victim’s pulse after applying a tourniquet. No pulse in the appendage means that the tourniquet has been successfully applied, increasing the victim’s odds of survival.

Accidents occur every day. Car crashes, recreational mishaps and even clumsiness can create serious wounds. How can you help someone in such a dire circumstance?

In November, Dominican’s Student Council learned how to handle these life-threatening situations.  They gathered in the Sr. Ambrose Regio Gym for a lunch box lecture from the Stop the Bleed organization. Student Council members learned the basics on how to recognize, assist and stop a life-threatening bleed on the scene. They put the lesson into action by practicing many of the skills they learned.

Stop the Bleed is a program with a mission.  It cultivates grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security created Stop the Bleed as a national awareness campaign. The New Orleans branch of the program, located at University Medical Center and headed by the LSU Health New Orleans and the Tulane University Medical School, strives to educate students in the area on these life-saving techniques.

Dr. Jennifer Avegno (’89) is the emergency physician in the Level 1 Trauma Center at University Medical Center and a spokesperson for Stop the Bleed. Dr. Avegno sees many serious injuries daily and finds it frustrating how many deaths could be prevented with the correct knowledge.

“We designed the program to help civilians learn the basic procedures to hold the victim over until the EMS can get on the scene,” said Dr. Avegno. “I’m tired of seeing people die before they even get to us and never being able to do anything about it.” This problem is one of the main factors for expanding the Stop the Bleed program to New Orleans area schools.

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Packing a “bleeding” wound, senior Cole Pittman races against the clock to save her “victim.” Provided by the Stop the Bleed program in November, bleeding simulators help the girls practice their packing skills.

From packing a wound to learning to apply a tourniquet, the Student Council practiced their newly-gained skills on each other as well as on the bleeding simulators provided by the organization. “I liked that it was hands on because if we had just watched a presentation, I don’t think I would have learned as much,” said freshman Gracie Bott.

The girls also exam viewed examples of what a serious injury, such as a gun-shot wound or an injury from a bicycling accident, may look like. Although no one fainted after seeing these graphic images, there were many gasps and groans heard throughout the crowd. “High school students can be a bit squeamish,” said Dr. Avegno, “so when I see a young girl get excited and interested in trauma, it gives me a sense of pride.”

The program’s goal is to educate at least 300 schools within the next 5 years. With Dominican being one of their first all-girl, Catholic schools to take part in the program, Dr. Avegno is very proud to have brought her knowledge home to her alma mater.

Following the seminar and demonstrations, each Student Council member received a certificate of completion, showing that she is certified in the Stop the Bleed program.

“I enjoyed the program because I’m very interested in medicine, and I would’ve never had the chance to go if it wasn’t at Dominican,” said junior Kennedi Sigur. “I take pride in the fact that if someone were to get to injured in front of me, I now know what to do.”

  • Claire Perez