Tourniquets credited in Boston with saving lives
Article Date: Apr 22, 2013

They’re also now part of the protocol of many Omaha area first responders.

The makeshift tourniquets used by bystanders at the Boston Marathon bombings included runners' shirts tied in knots and belts that had to be tight­ened well past any pre-punched holes.

When you're trying to stop massive bleeding from an arm or a leg, you do what's necessary.

Doctors said tourniquets saved many lives in Boston. But until the past couple of years, tourniquets weren't standard equipment on fire rescue vehicles and were down the list of preferred responses. Direct pressure on a wound was and still is the first option for stem­ming blood flow, but the experiences of medics in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the value of tourniquets.

Dr. Keith Clancy, trauma medical direc­tor at Creighton University Medical Center, said there are times when the wound is too big to apply direct pressure or, with multiple wounds, when there is no single place to apply pressure. And if an emergency responder is using both hands to keep pressure on a wound, he said, the responder isn't able to start an IV or help transport the patient.

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