All 13 lifeguard stands on Wrightsville Beach will be outfitted with tourniquets provided by North American Rescue (NAR).
NAR provided Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue with 13 combat application tourniquets, or CATs, according to Jeremy Owens, captain of the ocean rescue squad.
Dr. Gordon Hooks, a surgeon at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, credited tourniquets–and the good Samaritans who fashioned them out of what they could find on the beach–with saving the lives of last week’s two shark-bite victims on Oak Island.
Sixteen-year-old Hunter Treschl and 12-year-old Kiersten Yow lost their arms in separate shark attacks about an hour apart on June 14. Hooks operated on both victims.
“The one thing we stress–especially in situations where they’re bleeding–is to try to maintain pressure of what’s bleeding and certainly tourniquet pressure has been shown to save lives,” Hooks said. “There’s been a lot of data that has come out of the Middle East that tourniquets are now first-line therapy for all military personnel. I think in this case, folks were using whatever they could until EMS was able to put definitive tourniquets on them.”
The CAT tourniquet, which has been used by U.S. military troops since 2004, is the official tourniquet of the U.S. Army and “has been proven on the battlefield and in laboratory testing to be the fastest, safest and most-effective pre-hospital tourniquet in the world,” Owens said.
Under the direction of New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s EMS, Wrightsville’s ocean rescue vehicles and ATVs have been equipped with CATs for several years.
“The additional CATs, with their proven ability to safely and effectively control major bleeding, exhibits Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue’s proactive approach to hemorrhage control and their ultimate goal of providing a safer beach destination for both Wrightsville Beach locals and visitors,” Owens said.