Stop the Bleed Class Student Uses Learned Skills to Save a Bleeding Victim at Highland Hospital

Two months ago, a 16-year-old local high school student had no idea she was about to save a man’s life and become a hero when gun shots rang out in her neighborhood.

Sitting at home, Adrianne (alternate name to protect identity) heard gunshots which is not unusual where she lives. This time, she heard a man calling out for help. She saw him across the street pounding on a neighbor’s door shouting, “Help. I’ve been shot!” Adrianne recognized him. She knew only his first name.

“I was frantic, and this girl came out of nowhere. I heard her call my name,” said the African-American male in his early 20’s whose identity is being protected.

The man was in good hands as Adrianne was trained by the Highland Hospital Trauma Violence Intervention Program to help wound victims with confidence, thanks to a recent class she participated in called “Stop the Bleed.” As a Level 1 Trauma Center, Alameda Health System Highland Hospital provides these classes as part of a national Stop the Bleed campaign which launched in 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook shooting, where 26 people died of gunshot wounds. The Trauma Violence Intervention Program partnered with HealthPATH to reach student participants, like Adrianne, who already show interest in learning more about health care careers.

Highland Hospital’s Manager of Trauma Prevention Stefania Kaplanes invited Oakland Police Officers to co-facilitate these life-saving classes to highlight the Trauma Center’s community partnerships.

Stefania Kaplanes, Highland Hospital’s Manager of Trauma Prevention

“Our community is in a gun violence crisis and we’re all in this together,” said Kaplanes. “We must work together to train the community on simple techniques that save wound victims’ lives.”

Stop the Bleed instructs students on how to properly use a tourniquet on certain locations of the body to slow down or stop bleeding until medical help arrives. The students receive tourniquets to take home and are also taught to use other household items to stop bleeding.

“I told him that I was going to help him and to follow me,” recalls Adrianne. “I couldn’t find the tourniquet that I got from Officer Stine, so I grabbed my dog’s leash and then later a belt to do the same thing as a tourniquet.”

During the Stop the Bleed class via Zoom, Oakland Police Officers Jeremy Stine and Dan Mullens demonstrated how to use a tourniquet and why it was important. The students practiced on their own leg. When Adrianne had to do the real work, the victim was shot in the arm, so she placed the belt just below the shoulder.

“I didn’t want to look at what she was doing, but I felt a lot of pressure,” said the victim.  “She knew exactly what to do and kept trying to calm me down. She told me that I was going to be okay, and she saved my life. I want to see her again to thank her!”

Adrianne continued to apply the necessary pressure and called 911. She stayed with the victim until the Emergency Medical Team arrived. Then she called HealthPATH program coordinator, Joseph Peters asking for alternative numbers to 911 which was discussed during the Stop the Bleed class.

“When she told me the situation, I asked if she called 911,” said Peters. “Just as she was taught in the class, she said yes and was trying to stop the bleed. With the training fresh in her mind, she said she already went through the A, B, C’s which are Alert 911, Find Bleeding, Compress – just as we teach in the class.”

As he heard police arriving over the phone, Peters told Adrianne that she did an amazing job, and how important it is to tell the police everything she told him. He could also hear people in her neighborhood giving her praise.

“If no effort was made to stop the bleeding by applying pressure, the patient would have bled more at the scene and could have died before arriving,” said Lara Senekjian, M.D., a Trauma team surgeon who took care of the victim when he arrived at Highland Hospital, home to the only adult Level I Trauma Unit in the East Bay. “The HealthPATH student very well saved his life and should be commended for this.”

According to Peters, Adrianne told him that she wanted to be a doctor but didn’t know how she would respond in an emergency. Now she knows and she definitely wants to be a doctor.

“Adrianne is amazing!” he adds. “The HealthPATH Program is so proud of her.”