Ester Gorbun and Tatyana Vetsalo practice packing a wound at Saturday's Stop The Bleed training class at Bryan West Campus.

Two years ago, Vita Gorbun and her sister Ester were traveling along a highway in Utah when they saw a car swerve off the road and into a fence.

Vita, a nurse at Bryan Health's acute rehabilitation unit, jumped out of her car and ran to the scene as Ester called 911.

"The ambulance took forever to come," Ester recalled Saturday. "We were in the middle of nowhere."

They waited 15 minutes, and Vita realized she didn't know exactly what to do to help the bleeding man. She said she "wasn't prepared" for the situation.

That feeling of anxiety led Vita to a conference room at Bryan West Campus on Saturday afternoon.

Stop The Bleed is a national campaign to address the most common cause of preventable trauma death in the United States: uncontrolled bleeding.

Saturday was recognized as National Stop The Bleed Day, where members of the public could take classes to learn how to stop bleeding in traumatic accidents and potentially save a life.

"A person can bleed to death in as little as 3 minutes," said Brittni Clark, the trauma outreach and injury prevention coordinator at Bryan. "We want to teach people who don't even have a medical background how they can stop and help while they're waiting for emergency responders."

Clark has trained hundreds of people as part of Nebraska's Stop The Bleed team. Training classes began in 2016 and are booked into next year. Saturday, more than 95 people signed up for classes in Lincoln, Hastings, Scottsbluff and Kearney.

"We want to empower the public to put their hands on another person," said Heather Talbott, the trauma program and practice manager at Bryan.

Talbott and Clark have worked together to bring awareness of the Stop The Bleed effort, training people at businesses, churches, schools and even private residences.

"It's the CPR of the 21st century," Talbott said.

Traumatic injuries can occur just about anywhere, she said. They've had people come into the Bryan Trauma Center with everything from boating accident injuries in the summer to snowblower accident injuries in the winter.

The training attempts to prepare people for all situations. Different injuries require different techniques to stop bleeding. For example, an injury to an arm or leg requires the use of a tourniquet to cut off blood flow, while one in the torso might require packing the wound and applying direct pressure.

The Stop The Bleed campaign was launched following the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. The American College of Surgeons, a coalition put together as a response to the shooting, wanted to create a protocol for national guidelines to enhance survivability after a mass trauma event. From it, Stop The Bleed training was born.

The project emphasizes the role of a "citizen bystander as a responder," encouraging people who see a traumatic event happen to help while waiting for police, fire or medics to reach the scene.

After completing training, participants get tourniquets they can keep in their car. With the help of a grant from the Community Health Endowment, Nebraska Stop The Bleed is able to put hundreds of these $20-30 pieces of medical equipment in the field.

Last week, Bryan Health provided trauma kits to be placed throughout Pinnacle Bank Arena and offered training for arena workers.

"It's good training to have, just in case," Vita Gorbun said. "You don't want to have to use it some day, but you just might have to."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or hmuslic@journalstar.com.


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