The vital reason these medical professionals want to teach you how to use a tourniquet.
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Dignity Health

On Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, 59 people were killed and over 500 more were injured in a mass shooting. It was devastating, but that didn't stop people from trying to help.

"People were calling nonstop to our ER, and I'm sure every other ER, asking if they could show up and donate blood," recalls Carolyn Smith, an ER trauma nurse at Dignity Health in Henderson, Nevada. "People were showing up at the door to donate blood at 2 in the morning."

Photo by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran/U.S. Air National Guard.


Smith has been a first responder on the scene at many disasters, both natural and human-caused. One thing she's noticed is that there are often countless people who want to offer their assistance. This was especially apparent in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

"It was a very humbling experience to see people, not only in Houston, but from all over the state, coming to help no matter what color, what race, what religion, what tax bracket," she recalls.

Obviously giving blood after one of these tragedies is helpful, but what about in the immediate aftermath of something like a shooting? What can you do if someone is actually bleeding out in front of you?

It's easy to feel helpless in the presence of such a situation, but it's in those precise moments that you can be the most helpful.

There are simple steps you can take to try to save someone's life if they're bleeding uncontrollably. They just require some know-how.

This graphic comes from a program called "Stop the Bleed," which was launched after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. It's designed to teach people the basic skills needed to stop a serious bleed from becoming life-threatening.

"They found that there were a significant number of what we call 'preventable deaths' [at Sandy Hook]," explains Dr. Sean Dort, a surgeon at Dignity Health. "If somebody knew the skills we're teaching, they would've been able to save lives."

The free Stop the Bleed program offers explicit guides to help prepare civilians to act in a situation where someone is bleeding profusely. You can also access free bleeding control classes in every state, where trained professionals teach you how to properly put on a tourniquet and pack a wound.

Teachers regularly oversee classes at capacity, which makes sense given that 2017 saw more mass shootings than any other year in modern U.S. history. Gun-shot wounds have become far too commonplace, and people seem to be tired of feeling helpless in the face of them.

A woman putting a tourniquet on a practice dummy. Photo via Dignity Health.

Medical professionals like Smith and Dort hope this impulse to be prepared will be a trend that continues.

"We need to embed [bleeding control] into the American subconscious the way CPR is," says Dort.

If bleeding control was taught, alongside CPR, in schools across the country, kids would head into adulthood armed with two vital sets of lifesaving skills. As a result, future mass shootings and other catastrophic events may not be nearly so devastating.

The more people on the scene equipped to stop bleeding, the better chance victims have of surviving until medical professionals can get to them.

It could be the difference between giving over to panic and turning a potentially bleak situation around.

For more information on how to stop bleeding, check out the video below:

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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