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JSO officer honored for saving a life at Art Walk

Officer Terrance Hightower used tourniquet, called heroic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The shooting at the Downtown Art Walk in January could have been worse, if not for the actions of Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer Terrance Hightower, who used a tourniquet to save the life of a teenage shooting victim.

"I just saw a lot of blood," Hightower said. "I had him turn his leg over and I can see it was a hole that had blood coming out. It was coming out pretty steady like a faucet."

The victim suffered a life-threatening arterial injury requiring emergency surgery. It was through Hightower’s appropriate use of a tourniquet, and the victim’s quick transfer to UF Health Jacksonville, that allowed the patient to not only live but be discharged with full use of his injured extremity.

"It's likely that individual would have bled to death," said Dr. David Ebler, Acute Care Surgeon with TraumaOne. "He wouldn't have made it to the hospital, he already had a significant amount of blood loss and he was in shock when he arrived at the hospital."

Friday, Hightower was honored for his use of the tourniquet as part of the national Stop the Bleed campaign. The Stop the Bleed campaign is a national initiative motivated by the 2012 tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary and the Aurora, Colorado theater, and most recently at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

'It hits home," said Hightower. "The whole idea was just to be able to do something."

Tourniquet use is now being taught by trauma personnel and University of Florida surgeons as part of the campaign.

"Apply the tourniquet around the limb 2-3 inches above the injury. If the bleeding doesn't stop with one tourniquet, a second can be applied closer to the torso," UF Health trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Fritze said. 

If there is not a tourniquet, there are other options.

"The most effective is direct pressure with both hands," siad Fritze "If that doesn't work, trauma gauze, used with both hands can be used."

If you or your organization would like to host a 50-minute Stop the Bleed training session, please contact TraumaOne Outreach Coordinator James Montgomery at 904-244-8515 or email james.montgomery2@jax.ufl.edu.