AMA HOD approves ACS-sponsored resolution on mass casualty bleeding control

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD), at its June meeting in Chicago, IL, approved a resolution introduced by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and other medical societies to train more professional first responders and civilian immediate responders to mass casualty events in the essential techniques of bleeding control.

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The AMA resolution calls for training more police officers, firefighters, and laypeople in bleeding control and for the placement of bleeding control kits, containing tourniquets, pressure bandages, hemostatic dressings, and gloves, with first responders. These efforts will enlarge the pool of first responders who can assist victims of mass casualty events.

Delegates overwhelmingly supported the adoption of this resolution, which was introduced on the heels of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, on June 12. “Active shooter events have occurred in 40 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia,” states the resolution, resulting in hundreds of deaths and catastrophic injuries to survivors.

The Hartford ConsensusRooted in Hartford Consensus recommendations

This new AMA policy upholds the recommendations of the Hartford Consensus. Convened by the ACS, the Hartford Consensus represents the deliberations of the Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Intentional Mass Casualty and Active Shooter Events. The group’s guiding principle is that “no one should die from uncontrolled bleeding.”

The Hartford Consensus calls for providing law enforcement officers with the training and equipment needed to act before emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrive and providing EMS professionals with quicker access to the wounded. The Hartford Consensus also encourages training civilian bystanders to act as immediate responders. This element of the Hartford Consensus is at the heart of the “Stop the Bleed” campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the National Security Council.

stop_the_bleed“This new policy moves this important initiative forward in terms of our development of a training program for the public, not just health care professionals, so that civilians can learn how to act as immediate responders and save lives,” said Lenworth M. Jacobs, Jr., MD, MPH, FACS, Chair of the Hartford Consensus and director of the Trauma Institute at Hartford Hospital, CT. “We already know from a national public opinion poll published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons that members of the public are willing to be trained—along with law enforcement and emergency medical responders—to accept this important responsibility.”

Dr. Jacobs pointed out that a general public empowered to act to stop bleeding might have saved lives in the wake of the July 14 event in Nice, France, when a truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

View the poll results online. More complete coverage of the AMA HOD will be published in the September issue of the Bulletin.

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