Dr. Laurie Punch

Dr. Laurie Punch, left, teaches a Stop the Bleed STL participant how to use a tourniquet to control severe bleeding.

Photo: Stop the Bleed STL

A St. Louis emergency surgeon and performing artist are partnered to educate community members on how violence takes a toll on health and wellness beyond those individual acts. They are also teaching potentially lifesaving steps you can take to assist an act of violence occurs in their immediate vicinity.

Emergency trauma surgeon Laurie Punch, MD, of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, leads Washington University’s initiative of the national Stop the Bleed campaign to reduce preventable deaths due to bleeding. She works with performing artist Marty K. Casey, founder and artistic director of the Show Me Arts Academy, to present the Un-Gun workshop to disarm negativity and trauma held in the mind, body and spirit.

“She really validates what we are doing,” Casey said of Dr. Punch. “She adds the purpose of really helping people to understand that we all hold some sort of trauma in our bodies and what happens when we’ve experienced certain things and how important it is for us to address it immediately.”

Dr. Punch and Casey recently presented their Stop the Bleed and Un-Gun workshop to young people as part of a “St. Paul Saturdays” session at St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis. State Rep. Alan Green (D-67) and his grandson attended and participated that workshop at St. Paul. Now Green is bringing the program to his constituents in North St. Louis County as part of his town hall meeting on Thursday, November 21 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Black Jack Fire Protection District building, 5675 N. Hwy 67 in Florissant. The town hall and workshop is for all ages.

Green said Dr. Punch increases the understanding about trauma, in addition to what to do if someone is shot in front of you.

“Look around and, if you’re not safe, run; if you are, then check the person,” Green said.

Knowing how to stop bleeding could save a life, but unfortunately most people don’t know what needs to be done, Green said. The workshop will provide attendees techniques of packing wounds, how to use a tourniquet that they will receive at the workshop – and how to make a tourniquet if they don’t have one available.

Green said Casey uses storytelling to get her message across.

“The best way to get someone’s attention who has gone through something is to take the attention off of the hurt and basically put it in a place through the arts, where they can dig a little bit deeper – beyond that bullet wound, beyond the witnessing of someone being shot,” Casey said.

Casey said of the workshops, “It’s the best medicine that I think anyone can be prescribed.”

View Dr. Laurie Punch’s TEDxGatewayArch talk, “How Bullets Go Deep,” on You Tube at https://tinyurl.com/u4py5f6.

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