White Plains Hospital, School District Partner to Save Lives

By Abby Luby

In a large classroom at White Plains High School Wednesday morning, a teacher placed a tourniquet on a mannequin while guided by a nurse.

Left to right, Bernadette Amicucci, a White Plains Hospital nurse, Nisse Varghese, a teacher at White Plains Middle School, and Post Road Elementary School speech language teacher Elizabeth Espada at Wednesday’s training of school personnel to apply life-saving techniques in case of an emergency.

The life-saving instruction is part of the Stop the Bleed campaign started by the White House in 2015. The initiative was adopted last year by nurses and doctors at White Plains Hospital in a broad outreach that offered life-saving skills to the community.

The hospital formed a partnership with the White Plains School District, resulting in training 66 teachers, staffers, coaches and administrators in essential skills to use in emergency situations. To date, White Plains Hospital has 30 master trainers who teach how to treat wounds.

Dr. Farrukh Jafri, assistant director of education and simulation in White Plains Hospital’s Emergency Department, was at the high school Wednesday to see how much teachers retained from the first class earlier this year. The idea is to train ordinary citizens who often are the first to reach victims before first-responders arrive.

“We are here to make sure everyone in the school district has the skill

set to save a life in any type of accident,” Jafri said. “We know that an emergency patient who arrives at a hospital with a tourniquet has better chance of survival.”

The school district is encouraging the training as part of the district’s Emergency Preparedness Before Back to School. Dr. Joseph Ricca, White Plains’ superintendent of schools, acknowledged that recent mass shootings made the district aggressively pursue the Stop the Bleed training for all the schools.

“I definitely think there’s heightened focus related to the mass shootings but this training will also be more useful on a daily basis,” Ricca said. “We know that responding this quickly to a catastrophic injury is truly the difference (between) life and death.”

Ricca, who took the initial training session, praised the strong partnership between White Plains Hospital and the school district.

“For us to come together and provide the opportunity to learn these skills and then being able to share it with other medical professionals and school districts is very positive,” said Ricca.