Nice twist for Detroit police: 1,100 new tourniquets
The thing they can’t teach you beforehand about tourniquets, said Detroit police officer Stephen Anouti, is how messy things are when you need to apply one.
But at this point, he’s used to it — and after only two years on the force, he was one of the more authoritative speakers Thursday when the Detroit Medical Center donated 1,100 tourniquets to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.
Anouti, 29, has applied them some 15 times already in his young career, a statistical oddity but a fortunate one. His first patient, shot in the femoral artery on an east-side driveway, wore his through X-ray and all the way into surgery, and lived to say thank you.
Now Anouti carries four on every shift, he said, two in the left pocket of his cargo pants and two in the right chest pocket of his jacket, where they don’t impede his gun hand.
The 1.5-inch-wide SOF Tactical Tourniquet preferred by the Detroit Police Department retails for about $30. Scott Steiner, CEO of the DMC and Detroit Receiving and Harper-Hutzel hospitals, pledged to donate a thousand of them at a trauma symposium in November after hearing a speech by Sean English, the University of Detroit Jesuit High School runner who lost part of his right leg a year ago when he was hit by a car while trying to help victims of an earlier accident.
“It’s not every day I’m inspired by 17-year-olds,” Steiner said, but he was moved enough to match a donation from the DMC Guild, the philanthropic arm of the medical center.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told a small gathering that tourniquets are part of the answer to a question he always asks himself: “What if?”
He recalled an incident in February 2017 in which three people were murdered, two officers were shot, “and the situation was still very hot” — too smoldering for EMS to reach the injured officers. A tourniquet, he said, kept one of the officers alive until more advanced care was possible.
“No one should die of a gunshot wound to the arm or leg,” said Detroit Receiving trauma surgeon Lawrence Diebel, who led a training session after the presentation for 20 police recruits. “If they come in dead, I have no job. It’s as simple as that.”
Detroit Receiving nurse Joe Gomez, the other trainer, warned the recruits that “they’re going to be screaming while you do this. They’ll say, ‘Stop, stop, stop.’ ”
“You just say, ‘Sorry,’ ” he continued — something Anouti has mastered.
“The first time, I was drenched with sweat,” Anouti said.
Now he’s comfortable with both the pressure and the mess, and he’s heard the same satisfying message from a collection of surgeons: “They’ve told us, ‘You saved this person’s life.’ ”