Police officers are often first on the scene when someone receives a serious injury. For victims with arterial bleeding, every second that passes puts them at greater risk of dying from their injuries. If emergency medical personnel cannot get there in time, it could be up to the police officer to save an individual’s life.
Thanks to the University of Louisville’s Willed Body Program, 16 Louisville police officers received special training this month in how to stop arterial bleeding – and potentially save a life. At the fresh tissue lab in the UofL Department of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology, members of the Louisville Metro Police Department participated in a day-long session to learn how to handle life-threatening arterial bleeds they may encounter at an accident or crime scene.
Emergency Medical Technician Brandon Heming and other emergency medical personnel instructed the officers using cadavers made available in the lab. It was the first such training held at the UofL lab for police officers.
“We are teaching police officers to save lives. No other form of training allows for the realism that is provided by utilizing a tissue lab,” Heming said.
Joe Heitzman, LMPD officer and one of the organizers of the training, said this was the first time many of the officers had worked with cadavers.
“The officers who were in the class had a great learning experience and a lot of them told me that the training was the first time they actually got to see how trauma affects our bodies and how to use a tourniquet correctly to save a life,” Heitzman said. “This was an opportunity that not many officers will ever get a chance at and they were excited about the lab.”
Nicole Herring, PhD, director of the Fresh Tissue and Willed Body Programs at UofL, said this type of training is part of the mission of the program, which provides cadavers for medical training within the UofL Health Sciences Center, as well as health-care professional students from Spalding, Bellarmine and Sullivan Universities, and Army Medical Corps team members from Ft. Knox.
“One of our primary goals for the Willed Body Program is not only to provide a resource for education for our medical and dental students, but for health-care professionals in our community as well,” Herring said.