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Trauma Center Conducts First Visually Impaired Bleeding Control Training

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Colby Rowe presents on Bleeding Control
Colby Rowe presents on Bleeding Control.

On January 20, a Bleeding Control Basic Course for the visually impaired and blind, developed with the help of the Trauma Center at Stony Brook Medicine, was held at the West Islip Fire Department. A group of 26 people with visual impairments including complete blindness received training through this first-of-its-kind modified course.

The course was given to this particular audience in response to a phoned-in question on a radio program. While the Trauma Center was being interviewed on 103.9FM’s Eye on Crime Show on November 9, Third Eye Insight member Michael Jordan, a completely blind veteran, heard the conversation and called the show with a question. He wondered if he could be trained on what to do if faced with an emergency, such as someone being severely injured or an active-shooter situation.

Accepting Michael’s challenge, the Trauma Center collaborated with Third Eye Insight and the Suffolk County Police Department Homeland Security Division and MedCAT unit to create and conduct this program.

The Bleeding Control Basic Course teaches those who have little or no medical training to stop uncontrolled bleeding when emergencies occur. This course was modified for those with less or no vision and encouraged them to utilize their sense of feel. With the assistance of sighted companions and guide dogs, attendees were able to complete the training successfully.

Modifications to the course included practice utilizing task trainers, wearable bleeding trainers to allow participants to feel the extremity and locate bleeding, and warmed fluids to represent blood.

Volunteers and attendees participate in the training
Volunteers and attendees participate in the training

The Trauma Center’s Dr. James Vosswinkel, Medical Director, and Colby Rowe, Education and Prehospital Outreach Coordinator, helped conduct the training. The course was held in conjunction with an Active Shooter for the Visually Impaired and Blind presentation from the Suffolk County Police Department.

Eight members from the Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SBVAC), recruited by SBVAC President Ashley Johnson, volunteered to attend the event and assist with skills training.

“I have attended many trainings, webinars and so forth. This was by far the best training I have ever attended,” said Nancy O’Donnell. “Clear, well-presented and beautifully adapted for the audience. Kudos!”

Linda Clark, who is nearly 100% blind, said in the middle of the class, “I really feel like this is doable.”

— Cohen Miles-Rath, Community Relations

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