AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police officers are adding a new tool to their toolboxes, one that can save lives. While it’s one of the oldest medical tools, the tourniquet was deemed too dangerous to use for years.
That changed during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We saw so many people who had their lives saved,” said Jayson Aydelotte, a trauma doctor at UMC Brackenridge. “We stopped counting.” He went overseas to help with the war efforts.
“Tourniquets were really common in previous wars like before WWII, for example, and in WWII.”
But the fear of amputation and death from tourniquets lingered for decades, until recently.
“Right up until this war kicked off, and really from 2003 onwards, we began using tourniquets on nearly every injured extremity,” said Dr. Aydelotte.
And now that training is being used on the streets of Austin.
“They have studies showing you can leave the tourniquet on three to four to five hours, until you can get to a trauma center,” said Detective Kenneth Casaday, spokesperson for the Austin Police Association.
Officers are trained to have two tourniquets, in case they need to use one on themselves.
Tourniquet training for APD officers started about six months ago. However, officer Ian Erickson saved a life by using the skill last year.
“I started my career in the Marine Corps when I was 17,” said Erickson.
An SUV drove into an Austin laundry mat, crushing a man. Ian went into action.
“I utilized that to try and stop the bleeding on him.”
“The doctor said if they would not have used the tourniquet, he would never had made it to the hospital,” said Casaday.
What was a last resort is now more like a first resort.
“If it saves lives, bring it on,” Casaday added.
Tourniquets can be used for various incidents, including gun wounds, stabbings and car accidents.
Officer Erickson, along with other APD officers received the Life Saving Medal for their actions that day.