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What time is it? Time to ‘Stop the Bleed’

Two Kaiser Permanente nurses are bringing life-saving techniques to the public. Pictured, nurse Evan Edminster teaches tourniquet techniques to students.

In fewer than 4 years, Kaiser Permanente nurse Evan Edminster has trained more than 4,100 people in the techniques required to save a life from bleeding.

Edminster began teaching Stop the Bleed, a program from the American College of Surgeons, in 2018 when he was hired as the trauma clinical education and injury prevention outreach coordinator at the Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center.

Stop the Bleed prepares everyday people — from health care providers and first responders, to ordinary citizens — to save someone’s life from uncontrolled bleeding that often occurs with traumatic injury. Someone who is severely bleeding can bleed to death in as little as 3 to 5 minutes, according to the American College of Surgeons Stop the Bleed Initiative, which emphasizes the importance of identifying and stopping uncontrolled, life-threatening blood loss.

Students learn tourniquet skills during a Stop the Bleed class.

Getting people on board to complete this training and actively engage in this movement isn’t easy. To teach people to train others is even more impressive.

“I started this job in January 2018. I trained 1,683 people in 2018 and 1,778 people in 2019,” Edminster said. Even during the pandemic, he was the first person in California to invent a hybrid version for people to continue receiving the training. Students would attend an online webinar, then perform hands on-skills training outside in the fresh air on the Kaiser Permanente Vacaville campus.

Edminster has managed to teach others safely and has been recognized by many professional organizations for being the leader in this training for Northern California.

Teaching lifesaving

Christine McGahey, MSN, is the clinical nursing director in Trauma Administration at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. McGahey, like Edminster, has brought Stop the Bleed training to the communities her hospital serves and once used her own training to stop life-threatening bleeding of a victim whose leg had been amputated from an accident.

The South Sacramento Medical Center and the Vacaville Medical Center are both Level 2 trauma centers, and the only trauma centers in the Kaiser Permanente system. This status means they provide complex 24-7 care while also serving as a resource for the surrounding community.

McGahey has trained, among other community groups, the local police agencies and the Sacramento City Unified School District personnel. She reported that since the community training began in 2018, a growing number of patients are arriving at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Trauma Center with a tourniquet properly applied. McGahey said, “I honestly feel that this is because we have empowered individuals to act swiftly to save lives.”

In recognition of his role single-handedly teaching Stop the Bleed in the Kaiser Permanente Napa-Solano Service Area, Edminster earned a Kaiser Permanente Nurse Excellence Award in 2021, and outside of the organization was recognized by the Trauma Managers Association of California and the American College of Surgeons.

“My moral compass has always been the same since I was a kid. I have always been focused on integrity,” said Edminster, when asked about his dedication to Stop the Bleed. “That’s doing the right thing when nobody’s watching.”


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