Tourniquet Saves Construction Worker's Life
March 21, 2019
Doctors say using a tourniquet saved his life, and that everyone needs to know how to use a tourniquet.
There’s been a major shift in the medical community’s approach to how to best use tourniquets, and now they want everyone to know how important they are for saving lives.
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — A Texas man nearly lost his life in a construction accident in Kirksville.
It started out as a normal day at work for Jeremy Selensky, of Willis, Texas. He was part of a crew doing a store remodel in Kirksville, and was removing a large mirror out of a dressing room when his luck turned bad.
“I didn’t actually see my arm, I just reached down and covered it, and just saw a bunch of blood everywhere,” he recalled.
Selensky realized that the mirror he was taking down had broken – slicing deeply into his forearm. He acted quickly, having a co-worker call 911. A nurse, who happened to be at store helped to wrap up the arm.
Paramedics arrived and brought Selensky to Northeast Regional Health Center, where Trauma Medical Director Dr. Roy Danks was working.
“The injury was full thickness through almost all of the muscle layers of the forearm on the palm side, and that’s where the arteries for the hand run through, two arteries go into the hand and it lacerated the one on the thumb side of the forearm,” Danks described.
“It was pretty scary honestly when I saw the amount of blood that was coming out, and realizing that I was passing out. I thought that I was going to die,” Selensky said. “I had my co-worker get my phone out of my pocket and call somebody for me to basically say goodbye because I thought that was going to be it.”
But there was one thing paramedics did when they got to Selensky did that kept him from dying.
“A tourniquet was applied by the paramedics which saved his life,” Danks explained. “He had adequate blood pressure, the bleeding was controlled.”
There’s been a major shift in the medical community’s approach to how to best use tourniquets, and now they want everyone to know how life-saving they are.
“The College of Surgeons has started an initiative to teach everybody how to put a tourniquet on and how to stop bleeding. The concern for years about tourniquets was that it was going to cut off blood flow to the extremity and they would lose the leg or loose the arm. What we know from the actions in the wars in the Middle East is that they don’t,” Danks explained. “Police officers and fire fighters all carry tourniquets, but really everyone should have a tourniquet at home.”
Tourniquets can be applied by yourself – or someone else – with very little medical training.
“It’s probably even simpler than knowing CPR. Applying a tourniquet is as simple as putting your shirt on in the morning or tying your shoes,” Danks said. “It’s a Velcro device, you open the Velcro, it’s big enough to slide on an arm or a leg, it has the stick that once you wrap it tightly around the extremity, you just turn the stick until you can’t turn it anymore, lock it in place, write the time on it, and if the bleeding stopped you’ve done a good job, and if not, it has to be tighter.”
Selensky’s stroke of bad luck when a mirror broke and nearly killed him – was saved by a series of right decisions.
“We can take care of even major trauma patients such as this patient, provided they’re given good care in the field, which he was, and they come to us in a condition that’s stable enough to continue to work with them. In rural areas trauma patients tend to do worse because they have longer transport times, sometimes it takes EMS much longer to get to them, and as a result, their outcomes are sometimes worse,” said Danks. “He’s a great example of the emergency medical services system working.”
Selensky arrived at Northeast Regional Medical Center in critical condition, where he went into surgery. Medical professionals there were able to control the bleeding and repair the arm.
“The last thing I remember before surgery was them getting my consent to amputate it if needed to, and so I was pretty sure I was going to wake up with one arm,” Selensky said. “I was pretty excited when I woke up and it was still there.”
Online courses on Stop the Bleed teach everyone how to use a tourniquet to save lives.
Dr. Danks recommends everyone have a tourniquet in their home.
Editor's Note: Not only should tourniquets be standard issue for all first responders; it is strongly recommended that all schools and workplaces carry tourniquets or bleeding control kits in conjunction with Stop the Bleed Training.
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