Program Teaches Ways to Step Up in an Emergency

Accidents can be scary, especially those that involve a loss of blood. And dangerous. In fact, uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable deaths from physical trauma. But you don’t have to be a licensed medical professional to help save someone’s life.

Through STOP THE BLEED®, a national public awareness campaign and single-course training program, you can learn how to step up in an emergency situation and be the reason someone gets to come home to their family.

STOP THE BLEED was developed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. While gunshot wounds are a major cause of death by severe loss of blood (also called exsanguination), kitchen cuts and yard work injuries are more common reasons people find themselves in the hospital due to excessive bleeding.

“It can be very fast — a person can bleed out in just five minutes,” says Dr. Carlos H. Palacio, MD, FACS, Trauma Director, South Texas Health System McAllen, a comprehensive Level I Trauma Center. “When this course is complete, the community is empowered to be lifesavers, basically.”

In completing STOP THE BLEED training, community members are able to take on a critical role before the patient makes it to the emergency room.

“They will help reduce the number of casualties by decreasing the exsanguination period for a patient,” Dr. Palacio said. “So, by the time paramedics arrive, they should have good blood pressure and a good amount of blood still in their system and we will be able to continue our work with the patient.”

Due to the possibility of mass shootings, Dr. Palacio says, most public facilities have tourniquets on hand to stop severe bleeding. However, he adds, if you are helping someone with a traumatic wound and there is no tourniquet available, any piece of cloth, shirt or towel can be used to tie the injured extremity.

Schedule a Training Session

South Texas Health System McAllen’s Trauma Department travels throughout the Rio Grande Valley to conduct complimentary STOP THE BLEED training in English and Spanish for community groups, schools and more. Anyone 16 and older can take part in the training. If interested in scheduling a session, you can contact

During the ongoing pandemic, staff are taking COVID-19 precautions, including limited class sizes, social distancing, mask wearing and sanitizing of equipment.