Tourniquet Application by Urban Police Officers: The Aurora, Colorado Experience

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Jerome JE, Pons PT, Haukoos JS, Manson J, Gravitz S 21(1). 71 - 76 (Journal Article)

Background: Uncontrolled external hemorrhage is a common cause of preventable death. The Hartford Consensus recommendations presented the concept of a continuum of care, in which police officers should be considered an integral component of the emergency medical response to active shooter incidents. Recent publications have reported individual cases of tourniquet application by police officers. This report analyzed all documented cases of hemorrhage control using tourniquets applied by police officers in a single large metropolitan police department. Methods: A retrospective computerized search of all public safety communications center reports and police officer documentation for cases of tourniquet application was conducted by searching for the word "tourniquet." Each case was evaluated for indication and appropriateness using Stop The Bleed criteria for tourniquet placement. In addition, police response time was compared to emergency medical services (EMS) response time in an effort to determine if there was a time difference in response to the bleeding patient that could potentially impact patient outcomes. Results: Forty- three cases were identified over the 6-year period ending in December 2019. The majority of cases involved gunshot wounds and most were civilian victims. Injured police officers accounted for two cases (gunshot wound and dog bite). Review of the officers' narratives indicated that most applications appeared justified using the Stop The Bleed criteria (two cases were questionable if a tourniquet was necessary and one may have been placed in an incorrect location). On average, police arrived 4 minutes sooner than EMS did. Conclusion: Several reports in the literature document the success of police officer application of tourniquets to control limb hemorrhage. Most of the reports involved a small number of case reports. This is the largest case series to date from a single urban police department.

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