MURRAY — When the two victims from the shooting at Fashion Place arrived at the Intermountain Medical Center trauma center, just two minutes after they had left the mall, they already had tourniquets to stop bleeding placed by citizens at the scene.
One victim had tourniquets for wounds on both legs, while the other had a tourniquet on one leg, according to Dr. Mark Stevens, a Level 1 trauma surgeon at the Intermountain Medical Center where the victims were taken.
"We recommend placement of tourniquets only when there's life-threatening bleeding that can't be stopped by direct pressure," said Stevens, "I don't think either of the injured were hurt by placing tourniquets, but they probably weren't necessary in this situation."
As of Monday afternoon one of the victims had been released from the hospital, the other is still in intensive care, but in stable condition after surgery.
A tourniquet is the last step to stop uncontrolled bleeding, and should be used only after applying direct pressure and packing the wound hasn't worked to stop life-threatening bleeding, Stevens urged.
Stop the Bleed, a federal safety campaign, teaches free courses to prepare anyone to be an "immediate responder. "Immediate responders are normal citizens who are on the scene of any life-threatening injury, whether it's a car crash, a work injury or a mass casualty event.
Stevens said the response to Sunday's shooting shows people are more ready to help than they were 40 or 50 years ago. People called 911 and were available to help the victims by talking to them and helping with their wounds.
"People that were in the vicinity, the immediate responders next to the victims, jumped right in, they were prepared to do what they needed to support the patient," said Stevens.
Matthew Thomas, a Murray resident, was shopping at the mall during the incident on Sunday. After the shooting stopped, he went back inside to see if there were any victims he could help. On Monday, Thomas described talking with the victims because he would want someone to help him if he was in that position.
"I was just basically holding both of their hands just telling them 'It's going to be OK, everything is going to be all right,'" Thomas said.
Thomas said he hadn't had firsthand training recently, but he still wanted to do anything he could to help the victims.
"Education is leading people to want to do something to prevent unnecessary bleeding and unnecessary deadly death, and we encourage that. But I think it's really important that people come and get the necessary training so they know not only how to place a tourniquet but they know when that's appropriate," said Stevens
The Stop the Bleed initiative began as a response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School after a series of conferences with the American College of Surgeons, the White House, the FBI and the Department of Defense.
"We wanted to empower everyday citizens to know how to deal with life threatening injuries at the scene," Stevens said.
Stevens said although using a tie or T-shirt for packing a wound instead of gauze is fine, using anything other than a CAT tourniquet is not recommended. However, in a life-threatening situation, other fabric or elastic and a stick to tighten it will work.
Stevens encouraged purchasing a bleeding kit, which includes a CAT tourniquet, as an addition to a first aid kit.6 comments on this story
"Our goal would be to have this in every first aid kit or in the back of every trunk … ultimately we would like to see a Stop the Bleeding kit next to every defibrillation kit in every public place … and we're working toward that," Stevens said.
The Stop the Bleed course is designed to be taught to every able-bodied citizen. Times and locations of trainings can be found on the Stop the Bleed website, or by calling or looking on the websites of local trauma centers.
Contributing: Kelli Pierce