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Police officers honored for saving lives with tourniquets

Posted at 6:53 PM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 19:48:00-04

CINCINNATI -- Tourniquets weigh less than a pound. They've been in use since the Civil War. And they can save a life.

There was a time when tourniquets were frowned upon, the thinking being that they did more damage than good. But that thinking has changed, and a new "Stop the Bleed" program is training people to use them. 

Golf Manor police Lt. Michael Forrest and Cincinnati Police Officers Luke Wylie and Alexander Saulsbury were all honored by Rep. Brad Wenstrup Thursday for saving lives using tourniquets. Forrest said he relied on his military training.

"Act. Move. Do something," he said.

Wenstrup is no stranger to tourniquets either. He's a combat surgeon who used one in June 2017 to stop bleeding on his colleague Steve Scaline when a gunman opened fire on their baseball practice.

"Upon recognizing that he had a bleeding problem internally, we were able to use a belt to start with until things arrived and we were able to put on a tourniquet," he said.

That saved Scalise's life, just like Forrest saved his neighbor. Dr. Jay Johannigman of UC Health said that gave the man a second chance.

"The young man's artery was repaired that evening," he said. "The young man went home five days later."

"Stop the Bleed" classes only take 30 minutes. More than 1,000 people in Cincinnati have been taught, including at Western Hills and Oyler high schools. 

"Our goal is to get this training to all the faculty within the Cincinnati Public Schools, at least the high schools, this next year in 2018," said Cincinnati Fire Department Assistant Chief Tom Lakamp.

Medical experts say a tourniquet can stay on for as long as two to two-and-a-half hours without causing any longterm damage.