Homemade Tourniquet, Quick Thinking Help Chicago Police Save Gunshot Victim

Chicago Police Officers David Watson and Paul Moreno used an improvised tourniquet to help save the life of a 17-year-old male shot in the left leg, right leg, groin, and buttocks. On Tuesday, the officers received the officer of the month award for their efforts.

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On Oct. 12, Chicago Police Officers David Watson and Paul Moreno received a call of "shots fired/person shot" over their cruiser's radio. Inside the apartment, in a large pool of blood, was the victim, a 17-year-old male shot in the left leg, right leg, groin, and buttocks. And an improvised tourniquet saved his life, reports the Chicago Sun Times.

After nine years as a police officer, Watson is no stranger to shootings — but, he says, this particular incident was different — and it earned Watson and Moreno "officer of the month" honors from the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.

The bullet that hit the victim's right leg had severed his femoral artery. According to Moreno, Watson, a former Marine, leapt immediately into action.

"As soon as we walked in, first thing he's saying is, 'Gimme a belt, give me a rope, give me something,'" Moreno said. A neighbor handed Watson the victim's belt, which he used to make a tourniquet.

Another bystander pulled a stick from a house plant and Watson used it to tighten the tourniquet while Moreno calmed down the crowd of residents that had begun to gather. The officers then took turns applying pressure to the wound until emergency services reached the scene and transported the victim to Mount Sinai Hospital.

Watson says police officers are not, as a matter of policy, trained in first aid. Neither are all officers equipped with the blood clotting gauze, "QuickClot," which aldermen have petitioned Chicago Police to carry. Above all, in saving the young man's life, Watson credits what he learned in the Marines.

Police on Tuesday said the victim continues to recover, and hospital staff told Watson his quick thinking is the reason. On Tuesday, Officers Watson and Moreno were presented with the officer of the month award for their efforts.

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