Leah Matthews recalled being on the ground as the gunfire kept raining down on her and other Las Vegas concert goers.
Some were already dead and more would die from the bullets in minutes as a gunman on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel and Casino fired down into a scattering crowd at the 2017 music concert.
Eventually 58 would die and hundreds left wounded and bloodied by bullet wounds, including four of Matthews’ friends.
Matthews, who lives in Cincinnati, recounted her survival of the massacre to a packed classroom of attentive students at the first “Stop The Bleed” class in Miami University’s history this week.
Then, with her voice quivering with emotion, she shared a confession to the students on why she was there with them as part of the trauma wound training class.
At the shooting scene, she told them, “there was this person next to me, literally within arm’s reach.”
“We made eye contact and he was just bleeding out. Just bleeding out. And I broke eye contact,” she said choking up.
“This is what really bothers me and that’s why I’m happy you are here,” she told the more than 50 students. “They say in times of tragedy it calls for helpers. At that moment, I wasn’t a helper.”
“So I found this class – Stop The Bleed - in February, hoping that God forbid anything like that happens again that I can hopefully be helper because I live with that memory every day, among others,” she said, urging the students to also be prepared for any emergency where fast thinking and action can save someone from bleeding to death.
The evening class, which is a local version of public training sessions offered nationwide, drew a crowd of students on Miami’s main Oxford campus this week.
Variations of the class are increasingly being taught to teachers and studetns in recent years at area K-12 school districts including Ross and Madison Schools in Butler County.
The class listened intently to an area trauma surgeon and volunteers from local Fire and EMS teams as they led the students through an instructional class that included some graphic, open wound photos that had one student upset enough to leave.
But many more stayed and watched wide-eyed as instructors went through in detailed fashion what they can do should they be in a similar murderous or otherwise deadly scenario with bleeding victims.
They applied tourniquets to one another and stuffed medical gauze into fake bullet holes in rubbery foam doubling for human skin and played out group scenarios of trauma emergencies.
Miami junior Grace Chaney organized the first-time class.
At a time when mass shootings are occurring more frequently, such trauma training is needed she told the Journal-News.
“Victims of massive and uncontrolled bleeding can die within five to 10 minutes. Many times EMS cannot arrive within that time frame,” said Chaney, who plans to offer more classes in the fall.
After the class, Miami senior Elizabeth DeBeer “with everything happening in the news I think it’s super important for regular citizens to act as first responders.”
“Emergency situations are out of our control and we know that paramedics can’t always get to us right away. So it’s really important to not be a bystander but actually turn into a helper,” said DeBeer, who is majoring in public health and pre-nursing.
“This class really educates students here and will know what to do when the situation approaches. It doesn’t matter what you are studying or where you are going. Anything can happen any where, so it applies to everyone,” she said.
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