Local high school students will be the first in the state to be trained in emergency responses to traumatic injury.
PLYMOUTH – Local high school students will be the first in the state to be trained in emergency responses to traumatic injury.
By the end of the school year, students in the district’s Biomed program will have learned how to stop bleeding by applying tourniquets as part of a national Stop the Bleed campaign.
The school district agreed last month to offer the training after meeting with representatives from the trauma program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston – Dr. Reza Askari, assistant trauma director at the hospital, and Meghan McDonald, the trauma program’s nurse director.
Superintendent Gary Maestas said the district will partner with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to train the district’s nursing staff to serve as trainers for students in how to apply tourniquets. The district would begin by training sophomores in the Biomed program who are learning about human anatomy.
Askari said the program started in Hartford, Connecticut, as an initiative of the College of American Surgeons to minimize preventable deaths. Brigham and Women’s Hospital has developed a program that will enable bystanders to use a tourniquet with the same confidence they would use CPR or an AED in an emergency.
Maestas said the need for a tourniquet occurred just within the last year at one of the schools in town. Knowing how to respond in such a crisis can mean the difference between life and death. “You never know when the preparedness can be very helpful,” Maestas said. “We feel very strongly about the direction this program can go for the Plymouth Public Schools.”
Vedna Heywood, a member of the School Committee who works as a trauma nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, helped coordinate the partnership after attending a school safety conference with fellow board member Kim Hunt.
Hunt alluded to the campaign’s 2013 origins in the wake of the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
“If there is some kind of crisis in the schools, then this is a necessity. It puts a knot in your throat when you think of it in that respect, but I think that was the reason we were in that workshop. It was on school safety,” Hunt said.
Heywood said the training could also be a valuable tool for anyone on a day-to-day basis.
Eddie Payzant, a senior from Plymouth North High School who sits as a student representative on the school board, said he would prefer never to have to apply a tourniquet, but noted that as a camp counselor he is already trained in using CPR. “I would like to avoid that,” Payzant said, “but if I’m in a situation where I would have to use it, yes, it would be helpful.”
McDonald said the training for students would only involve one session – a short video and then two hands-on experiences using manikins.
Teams from Brigham and Women Hospital have already trained vendors, attendants, security guards and other staff at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park. Plymouth would be the first school district in the state to participate in the program.
While Brighan and Women’s program uses sophisticated manikins with special sensors for training at its hospital, the local program will rely on the basic manikins available now in the Biomed program. Tourniquets are already available in the schools and school nurses already know how to use them.
Local police officers and firefighters will participate in the program as well, training along with the nurses in how to be Stop the Bleed trainers.