American College of Surgeons applauds passage of STOP THE BLEED® bill in California

CHICAGO (September 28, 2022): The American College of Surgeons (ACS) applauds the California State Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom for enacting Assembly Bill 2260, “Emergency Response: Trauma Kits.” This legislation requires the installation of trauma bleeding control kits in newly constructed public and private buildings throughout the state. Gov. Newsom signed the legislation on Monday, September 27.

“We are proud of our California member surgeons who helped make this legislation a reality. A bleeding emergency can happen anywhere, and by prominently placing bleeding control kits in public places, California empowers its citizens to step in and save lives when a bleeding emergency occurs,” said ACS Executive Director Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS.

The San Diego-Imperial, Northern California, and Southern California State Chapters of the ACS, and the bill’s primary cosponsors–State Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-52) and State Senator Ben Hueso (D-40) –led the effort to pass the legislation, along with a coalition comprised of an additional 11 trauma physician-related organizations, including the California Medical Association, California Emergency Nurses Association, and the California Society of Anesthesiologists.

Similar iterations of AB 2260 have attempted to pass the California Legislature over the past six years. In 2021, grassroots advocates worked with Sen. Hueso’s office to revamp the bill to more closely align with previously passed AED legislation. While the 2021 version passed in the California Senate, it failed to pass in the final steps of the Assembly until this year.

“It has been a long road, punctuated by a two-year rewrite and an arduous California grassroots advocacy effort to get AB 2260 passed. Sen. Hueso and Asm. Rodriguez are to be commended for their steadfast determination and leadership to make this life saving legislation happen. STOP THE BLEED® really does make a life-or-death difference and California’s leadership in this effort will help pave the way for similar legislation across the country in future years,” said Amy E. Liepert, MD, FACS, a trauma and acute care surgeon at UC San Diego Health, who led the grassroots initiative that advocated for this legislation. 

Following passage of the legislation, the ACS State Affairs team worked with ACS members residing in California and submitted letters from the California State Chapters, the COT, and the coalition to Governor Newsom urging him to sign the bill. In their letters, the coalition stressed that a bleeding emergency can happen anywhere, and that California is particularly susceptible to natural disasters, including earthquakes. Someone who is severely bleeding can bleed to death in as little as five minutes. Access to a nearby bleeding control kit can help keep a person alive until they arrive at a hospital.

“STOP THE BLEED® has grown immensely in recent years, with more than two million people now trained to save a life by having learned three quick techniques: apply pressure, pack a wound, apply a tourniquet. Our training gives bystanders the knowledge, skills, and confidence to step in and act. We hope that other states will follow California and make these lifesaving kits available everywhere,” said Kenji Inaba, MD, FACS, FRCSC, Chair of the ACS Committee on Trauma STOP THE BLEED® Steering Committee.

“Anyone can save a life if they are equipped with the skills and resources necessary to stop severe bleeding. Just as AEDs are available in many public places, this law helps ensure the people of California will be able to access a bleeding control kit if an emergency situation arises,” said Eileen M, Bulger, MD, FACS, Medical Director of ACS Trauma Programs.

STOP THE BLEED® was launched in October of 2015 by the White House, with a call to action to begin training more people to become immediate responders until professional help arrives. The American College of Surgeons’ STOP THE BLEED® program is operated under a licensing agreement granted by the Department of Defense. More information is available at: https://www.stopthebleed.org/.

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. “FACS” designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.