Top London trauma doctor calls for public ‘bleed kits’ to save stabbing victims’ lives

“That young people in London are bleeding to death from knife wounds and we need to stop it.”

A leading London trauma surgeon has called for more bleed kits to be installed around London to stop stab victims from dying at the scene.

Dr Martin Griffiths said people were “literally bleeding to death on the streets,” and added that young people needed to be trained to save their friends’ lives.

It comes as there have been a total of 44 fatal knife attacks in London this year, with 2021 witnessing 79 fatal stabbings in total.

A police officer at the scene of a fatal stabbing during the Notting Hill Carnival. Photo: Getty

Dr Griffiths, who works at Royal London Hospital, said: “The data is telling us a very simple story.

“That young people in London are bleeding to death from knife wounds and we need to stop it.

“The brutality of the injuries we’re seeing, the number of injuries, the number of assailants, the severity of the injures is changing.”

The trauma surgeon has called for training in schools to teach pupils how to treat stab wounds at the scene - to prevent the victims from bleeding to death before paramedics arrive.

“Every second is important,” he added.

And Dr Griffiths believes bleed control kits should be installed across the city in the same way that defibrillators have been rolled out in public places.

Trauma kits are similar to standard first aid kits and contain a tourniquet, bandages and a foil blanket to be administered to stabbing victims before an ambulance can arrive.

The kits cost around £600 to install and have been crowdfunded by victims’ families in Birmingham and Essex.

While 300 bleed control kits were installed at night time venues in the Square Mile in 2019 after being funded by the City of London Police.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that the Metropolitan police has been considering whether widespread use of these kits would be “appropriate”.

Dr Martin Griffiths, NHS trauma surgeon, has called for bleed kits to be made public. Photo: Getty

A study by Queen Mary University London has found that an increasing number of stab victims had sustained injuries to their limbs and junctions of their body, such as armpits, rather than to their torsos which might be expected.

Campaign group KnifeSavers, who aim to train people to treat bleeding from knife injuries via trauma kits, education and an instructional app, say: “After being stabbed, a person can bleed to death in just five minutes.

“A rapid response ambulance often takes seven minutes to arrive at the scene.

“KnifeSavers wants everyone to be able to stop the bleeding - keeping someone alive for long enough to get them an ambulance, and get them to hospital.”

They added: “Our aim is for you to know what to do, and have the tools to do it.

“This is knowledge that no-one can afford to be without.”

The group spoke to MPs earlier this year and says it hopes to spread “lifesaving knowledge to form part of the national curriculum and for community bleeding control education to be available up and down the country”.

The Met Police have been contacted for comment.