Philadelphia workshop teaches residents how to help gunshot victims

Helping gunshot victims

This year, Philadelphia has already seen nearly four dozen murders, a 38 percent increase from this time last year. Now the city plans to get ahead of its first responders in a race against time.

At a north Philadelphia church, 60-year-old Veronica Daniel and the rest of the residents are learning to set a tourniquet. The goal? To prevent a gunshot victim from bleeding to death before help arrives, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller. 

“So you’ve become the first responder?” Miller asked Daniel. 

“I don’t know. I hope so. I hope I am brave enough to do that,” Daniel said.

In Philadelphia, it takes an ambulance six-and-half minutes to arrive at a crime scene. Every second a victim lays unattended could be a death sentence.

Daniel learned the importance of survival when her brother was shot 30 years ago.

“In my brother’s instance, the gunshot wound brought him home, so we were able to talk to him,” Daniel said. “It gave him an opportunity to look at life differently, and it touches family again.”

The workshop is called Fighting Chance. It was started by Temple University Hospital.

“Unfortunately, gun homicide is the leading cause of death for young black men between the ages of 15 and 24… and we think we owe it to them to give them a fighting chance to survive those injuries. And if we only save two or three, it’s worth it to us,” said Scott Charles, Temple University Hospital’s trauma outreach coordinator.

The sessions are taught by hospital trauma nurses and ER doctors. Participants learn to stop blood flow at artery pressure points and how to move the wounded out of harm’s way.

But Charles said the larger point to all of this is to prevent more gun violence in the first place.

“If they die, the assumption is among their friends that they have to avenge this shooting. And so if we can save more lives directly, there’s going to be a downstream effect. I fully believe that,” Charles said.

Because success here is measured not in mastering the skills, but having to never use them.