Sign "O" the Times

It saddens me to report that this one idea from the Obama Administration is a really good idea:

Applying lessons learned on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration wants ordinary citizens armed with both the will and ability to grab a tourniquet and stop the wounded from bleeding to death before trained medics arrive.

Last month, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina placed more than 150 bleeding-control kits, including tourniquets, around the terminals, baggage claim and checkpoints. Schools in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York have put tourniquets in classrooms and school offices, and have taught teachers and nurses how to apply them.

The White House last month convened emergency managers, medical groups, health-care companies and school administrators to urge civilians with little or no medical training to intervene to stem hemorrhaging.

True story.

When I was a young cadet at Missouri Military Academy, we had a twice-a-week class taught by our two on-campus US Army active duty sergeants. If you think a two-year tour at a military boarding school is easy duty, you probably are glad you didn’t know my friends and me back then.


The class was called Leadership Development, or LD, and it covered everything from first aid (“Use the back side of the field dressing to cover a sucking chest wound,” I can still remember SFC Teel telling us) to the benefits and drawbacks of joining the Army. The benefits included 50% pay after 20 years, and the drawbacks included the possibility of getting shot or blown up. Needless to say, they stressed the former more than the latter.

This was all long enough ago that many of our lessons were taught using film strips provided by the US Army. Someday I may have to explain to my young sons what a film strip was, starting with the concept of “film.” I hope that day isn’t soon.

One of those film strips was on the proper application of tourniquets, and included a very strict instruction not to apply a tourniquet, under any circumstance, around someone’s neck. The accompanying artwork was a cartoon of a soldier who did have a tourniquet around his neck — and his tongue, eyes, and ears all bulging out like one of those little squeezey dolls.

That frame of the film strip had the intended effect — 30 years later, give or take, and I still remember not to tie a tourniquet around anyone’s neck, and I still laugh at the cartoon.

I wonder today if they still use that illustration.

I hope so.

But it is telling about this century that what was once an almost-exotic bit of training for a high school kid will now be taught right alongside CPR and all the rest.