09 Oct 2018

A Dyfed-Powys Police PCSO has revealed how he helped save a man’s life using the unlikely tools of a belt and a spoon.

PCSO Matthew Kieboom, stationed in Cardigan, has stressed the importance of officers and staff taking close note of a new  catastrophic bleeding course being rolled out.

The training taught him how to make and use an improvised tourniquet – a vital skill he needed to call upon just a week later.

PCSO Kieboom explained that he was out on patrol with a colleague when they heard the sound of smashing glass nearby. They ran to the location and found a man with severe cuts to his hand and forearm, and an arterial bleed.

Knowing he needed to stop the bleeding quickly, PCSO Kieboom sprung into action. He took off his belt, had someone fetch a spoon from a nearby house, and turned them into an improvised tourniquet, using his learning from the catastrophic bleeding course.

He put the belt around the man’s arm and used the spoon to tighten it and stop the bleeding, which until that point was uncontrollable.

PCSO Kieboom said: “Despite excellent direct pressure being applied to the wounds by a member of public, the only reason the bleeding came under control was because an improvised tourniquet was applied and the pressure was maintained.

“I cannot stress enough how effective the tourniquet can be – even a Blue Peter version – with what you have to hand or nearby. Think pens, ties, batons, slings even torches and the plastic tube for a breathalyser can be used in making an improvised tourniquet.

“In this incident, because we were so close and the tourniquet was applied so quickly, the casualty not only stayed alive but remained conscious.

“This brought other challenges, in trying to keep the casualty and all his friends calm and reassured whilst waiting for ambulance, and keep the tension on the tourniquet.

“Tensions and language remained high for some time.”

The catastrophic bleeding training is an add-on to the yearly first aid refresher. Officers and staff are taught how to create and use an improvised tourniquet, as well as how to use a haemostatic dressing which is packed into a wound and reacts with blood to stop the bleeding.

“In reality, the improvised tourniquet is what we will have to use in the event of someone bleeding catastrophically, as the other bits are very specialist equipment,” PCSO Kieboom said.

“I was lucky that as part of my military deployments to Iraq, I was involved in instructing the team medic course to deploying troops, and sadly have had to use some of the training on operations.

“Thankfully, it all came flooding back as soon as I saw the spray of the arterial bleeding.”

PCSO Kieboom kept the tourniquet tight on the wound until an ambulance arrived, and praised the medical staff who attended.

“I have to say, on ambulance’s arrival, the equipment and training they had was first class to deal with the casualty’s injuries and they played a massive part in helping save the limb and the casualty’s life.

“The wounds were so serious that the casualty was rushed straight into life-saving surgery on arrival at hospital.

“I have since been to see how the casualty is doing and they are making a full recovery much to my and their relief.

“Despite the training, I hope not to have to do this again anytime soon.”