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How Military Surgeons Are Helping Teachers Prepare For The Next Mass Shooting

Lt. Col. Ben Mitchell, an Air Force flight surgeon, belongs to a unit recently awarded six bronze stars for lifesaving work performed near the front lines of the war against ISIS.

But a recent weekday found him far from the battlefield — sitting in a small chair in the library of St. Barnabas Catholic School. Between shelves lined with storybooks and trophies, a trauma nurse cinched a tourniquet over a foam log. Then she packed a hole with gauze to demonstrate how a teacher might prevent bleeding from gunshot wounds.

“When we hold direct pressure, we are committing ourselves to that person,” said the nurse, Lina Evans. “We are going to lean our whole bodyweight into that wound.”

Related: Here’s Everything We’d Need To Make Armed Teachers Effective School Defenders »

UAB is the first hospital in Alabama to offer Stop the Bleed training in schools. Medical professionals, including trauma surgeons and nurses, demonstrate how to apply tourniquets, pressure, and dressing to life-threatening wounds. They also provide kits that contain latex gloves, tourniquets, and bandages for every classroom in the school.

The training session at St. Barnabas included Mitchell, Evans and about a half-dozen other members of a UAB trauma team. Mitchell serves in a special Air Force surgical unit that works with civilian trauma teams at UAB Hospital between deployments.

The Stop the Bleed team has steadily worked its way across Jefferson County, starting with schools in Homewood and other suburbs. Interest in the program increased after the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. This week, school violence hit close to home when gunfire killed one student and injured another at Birmingham’s Huffman High School.

Mitchell’s unit treated about 750 bleeding injuries during their last deployment — many from gunshots, blasts, and shrapnel. When those injuries happen in battle, …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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