Keeping up with changing demands of job, Truman Medical Center trains KC officers in critical injury response

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When Cadet Justin Forrest begins patrolling the streets of Kansas City, he will be armed with a new weapon designed to preserve life.

"If me and my partner arrive on the scene and someone is bleeding out and in need of immediate medical attention, I’ll now have the knowledge to be able to assist them and to possibly save their life." Forrest said. "They showed us how to apply tourniquets, how to pack a wound, and how to apply direct pressure on a wound."

It's a skill that KCPD Sgt. Wade Smith said officers must learn in order to keep up with the changing demands of their job.

"Over the last several years, our job has changed and evolved and we knew that there was a need for us to be able to render something beyond basic first aid," he said.

The Truman Medical Center Trauma Services team led the training session so the class could be the first line of defense when responding to a critical incident such as a stabbing or shooting.

"People are more likely after whatever has occurred to bleed to death more than anything else so if they survive that initial injury then the next thing we need to look at is keeping them from bleeding to death," Sgt. Smith said.

When on a scene and a victim or an officer are bleeding, seconds are crucial, so properly knowing how to apply a tourniquet can save lives.

"The patients that go into shock from blood loss are much more difficult to manage than patients that never enter shock. By preventing the blood loss their ability to survive their injury is greatly enhanced," Dr. Douglas Geehan, of Truman Medical Center, said.

The training also helps cadets feel more comfortable when in the field.

"I feel that under high stress I’d be able to quickly deploy and use it and save someone. It’ll be a great benefit to officers in the field," Forrest said.

This training will soon be offered to the more than 850 officers on the Kansas City Police Department.