LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After someone is shot, doctors say there are two important things you can do to help save a life: provide immediate care and donate blood.

Doctors with UofL Health say it can take three to five minutes for someone to bleed out after being shot, but the average response time for EMS is around seven minutes. So if a bystander doesn't take action to save a life, it can be too late by the time medical personnel arrive.

To educate the community on what to do, UofL Health is hosting "Stop the Bleed" trainings for free to walk people through how to pack a bleeding wound, apply a tourniquet and apply pressure. Medical personnel will also go over what household items to use if traditional medical supplies, like gauze, aren't available in the event of an emergency.

For people not on the scene, doctors said community members can still help save gunshot wound victims by donating blood.

UofL Health's Chief of Transfusion Services Dr. Claire Meena-Leist said someone needs blood every two seconds in the United States. She said while just one donation can save up to three lives, fewer people are giving blood because of the pandemic.

"Without the blood products, there's no way we can help these patients," Meena-Leist said. "An average trauma patients may use 10, 20, 30 units of blood, but there are some traumas that use 100 or more units of red cells, lots of platelets and plasma. So our blood donors are critical to the management and treatment of our trauma patients."

Due to rising gun violence in Louisville, doctors need even more blood now to treat victims rushed to their hospitals.

At UofL, at least 392 gunshot wound patients have been treated since the start of 2021. Of those, at least 312 were due to gun violence, and 24 people died. 

Meena-Leist said it is always a good time to donate blood but that the need typically is higher over summer months. 

To sign up for a Stop the Bleed program, click here

To find the nearest blood donation center near you, click here

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