8 Feb 13

IBD Story, from a friend and instructor in UT:

“I work at a residential treatment center.  Many of our admits struggle with suicidal ideation and self-harm impulses, like cutting.  Our job is to help keep them safe while they participate in a lengthy, therapeutic and academic treatment program.  And, since I completed your Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds Course several times, I’ve been pushing our management to get a supply of IBDs (Israeli Battle Dressing) and train everyone in their use.

Response has predictably been lukewarm, but that will likely change after yesterday’s incident here!

With startling speed, one of our admits grabbed a CFL light bulb, broke it, and jammed the jagged base into her interior forearm.  A deep cut resulted, and it immediately started bleeding copiously.

A co-worker was there to restrain the girl, who was now in a panic about what she had done.  My co-worker was able to put pressure on the wound, but knew it would take more to stop the bleeding.  She called to me and said,  ‘we need one of your bandages!’

I rushed over, removed an IBD from my satchel, and hastily applied it to the wound. Bleeding stopped instantly! Everyone, including the victim, was relieved. That IBD did the trick!

Local paramedics arrived fifteen minutes later. There was not much left for them to do except transport her to the hospital. One looked at the IBD and silently marveled at it with a quizzical look on his face.  He’d never seen one!

In the aftermath, I’ve already had a dozen staff (management and otherwise) approach me and ask ‘what was that bandage?,’ ‘where did you learn to do that?’ and (my favorite), ‘you just have one of those with you all the time??’”

Comment: Ever-ossified institutions are never the hero. Individuals are! Never wait around for some stale, blundering bureaucracy to “get-around” to recognizing a critical need. Step forward. Get the knowledge and equipment you need, on your own when necessary. Don’t ask permission, and don’t look back. Boldly do what needs to be done. Institutions and bureaucracies do only one thing well: protect and promote themselves.

Conversely, individual heroes see a need and act immediately and audaciously. In so doing, they are seldom thanked, nor even recognized. And, when the result is good (as it was in the foregoing case), someone else, some over-promoted incompetent, perpetually afraid to make any decision himself, will take the credit. And, when the result is bad, that same incompetent will claim he doesn’t even know you!

So what? Expect it! Real heroes seldom enjoy accolades, nor live highly-accredited lives. On the other hand, fearful cowards never live any kind of life!

“All this by gallant hearts is done. All this by patient hearts is born. And, they by whom the laurel’s won …are seldom they by whom it’s worn.”