Simple device helped save police captain’s life

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– While there is plenty we don’t know about the shooting of New Haven Police Captain Anthony Duff Monday night, there is one thing we do know.

“A police officer provided a tourniquet on him that may have saved his life and we just recently implemented that program,” said New Haven police Commissioner Anthony Dawson at a press conference Tuesday.

Related: Manhunt for New Haven shooter continues, Captain Duff recovering after surgery

That program was implemented through Yale New Haven Hospital, where trauma surgeons know the importance of stopping blood loss immediately.

“The main cause of death in most of these situations is bleeding,” said trauma surgeon Dr. Felix Lui.

Tourniquets have been used in battlefield medicine for decades. The rise in mass shootings here in the United States caused experts to look into putting tourniquets in the hands of first responders as well.

“Our trauma surgeons have come out with me and our team and trained every single officer in New Haven and West Haven as well,” said Dr. Ina Violano, manager of injury prevention, community outreach, and research for Yale New Haven Hospital.

Related: New Haven PD collecting video evidence from shooting of Captain, unidentified victim

The hospital also provided the tourniquets, one to every single officer. New Haven officers used the device and their training when Captain Duff was shot Monday.

Tourniquets are not complicated. You slip it on the arm or the leg that’s bleeding, place it about two fingers’ width above the wound, pull it tight, then turn the windlass to make it even tighter.

“As much as you can until the bleeding stops,” Dr. Violano explained.

Don’t be surprised if the person starts screaming. It does hurt. Keep that in mind if you ever have to do it to yourself.

It’s a temporary fix, because it does cut off the flow of blood, but as Captain Duff found out Monday night, it can make a crucial difference.

“That gives them the best chance to get to the hospital, to the trauma center, so that they can get their definitive care provided as soon as possible,” said Dr. Lui.

New Haven Police officers have used tourniquets on trauma victims 9 times just this year alone. Yale New Haven Hospital wants to expand the program to more police departments, as well as schools, malls, offices, and places of worship. All places where, unfortunately, we have seen shootings in recent months.

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