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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island


Stop the Bleeding

Emergency Department staff practice applying a tourniquet.

Providence VA Medical Center Emergency Department staff practice applying a tourniquet Dec. 15, 2016, during hands-on training on providing care for hemorrhage victims. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Peter Coffey)

By by Peter Coffey, Emergency Management Specialist, Providence VA Medical Center
Monday, January 9, 2017

Anniversaries, be they good or bad, can remind us about our past and help us better prepare for the future.

December 14 was the anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting when 20 students and six adults were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Providence VA Medical Center Emergency Department staff marked the anniversary Dec. 15, 2016, by conducting some hands-on training in small groups on the use of tourniquets and hemostatic agents, so they can maintain their preparedness to provide care for victims of active threats and other mass-casualty incidents.

Dr. Michael Siclari, an Emergency Department physician, trained the department staff on how to stop victims’ bleeding. A member of the American College of Emergency Physicians of Rhode Island, Siclari not only provides care to Veterans, but is also a member of the Rhode Island National Guard who has deployed overseas himself, and has family members currently serving in the Armed Forces.

“According to the Stop the Bleeding Coalition, the Army ranks hemorrhage number one on the list of preventable causes of death on the battlefield, 35 percent of pre-hospital deaths are the result of hemorrhaging, and roughly 80 percent of mass-casualty victims are brought to hospitals in something other than an ambulance,” said Siclari. “These facts mean it is really important for people to learn how to control bleeding, not just us in the E.R., but out in the community, as well. Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and the use of tourniquets and hemostatic agents can be critical in saving lives.”

The Stop the Bleeding Coalition is a federal, state, local and private partnership with a mission to ensure people have ready access to life-saving, easy-to-use hemorrhage-control resources that can help save the lives of victims and first responders during a mass-casualty event. Information and resources are available on their website,

A tourniquet, bandage and other tools used when responding to bleeding victims.

A tourniquet, bandage and other tools used when responding to bleeding victims that can make the difference between life and death during a mass-casualty event or other emergency. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Peter Coffey)

The Emergency Department is an important component of the Emergency Preparedness Program at the Providence VAMC, but the program is managed by a multidisciplinary Emergency Management Committee, and emergency preparedness training and is conducted across different specialties on all shifts, especially during the hospitals’ WHEN – weekend, holiday, evening and night -- hours.

“One of our functions as a VA medical center is to be able to provide support to local responders during a mass-casualty event, whenever that might happen,” said Dr. Susan MacKenzie, director of the Providence VA Medical Center. “Such events can be much more resource intensive than routine operations, however, and we have to be ready for that.”

VA staff, Veterans and families can be better prepared for mass-casualty events and other emergencies by consulting their local emergency management agency or visiting for information.


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