Waterbury hospital worker heading to Houston to help aid rescuers

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — St. Mary’s Hospital is sending some medical expertise and muscle to help protect the people of Houston and the heroes who are trying to rescue them from the flood waters and damage from Hurricane Harvey.

“I would not be comfortable not helping out,” said Stuart Hirsch, Director of Operations for Emergency Services at St. Mary’s. “In my gut I was feeling that this would develop into a situation that would require rescue teams to go in and help.”

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And that’s exactly what Stuart is doing. Stuart founded a group called Operation Endeavor. It consists of people from various first responder backgrounds — from military to medicine. And he’s leading his team into Houston tomorrow to give first responders a hand and much-needed rest.

They’ve answered the call during other natural disasters in the past, like in Haiti and here at home with Superstorm Sandy.

“Most of the guys on our team have very strong rescue backgrounds,” he said. “We try to build up rescue systems in those areas in order to increase survivability.”

He knows this is the point when rescue teams start to feel drained and fatigued, so in his mind, this was the perfect point to mobilize his team and head in.

“We want to be an asset to them because they’ve been going at this for the last six or seven days,” Stuart said.

They will take with them special IFAK kits — Individual First Aid Kits. They’re filled with medical supplies that can keep rescuers alive should they suffer any kind of serious injury while coming to the aid of others — like being hit by debris in the flood waters and suffering serious cuts, loosing blood. The IFAK kits are small enough for rescuers to attach to their belts and open up quickly so they can treat themselves quickly.

“The gauze itself is impregnated with a chemical that can actually help to stop the bleeding, to mimic the body’s ability to clot,” Stuart said.

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In a demonstration for News 8, one of Stuart’s Operation Endeavor teammates was able to open the kit, and grab the medical items he needed to wrap his leg to stop the potentially significant loss of blood in 20 seconds.

“By controlling the hemorrhage, Lawrence was just able to save his life,” Stuart said after the demonstration. “He could hemorrhage out in three minutes.”

Stuart’s Operation Endeavor team will also be there to help anyone who needs medical attention because of the storm.

When asked why Stuart wanted to volunteer and go to Houston with his Operation Endeavor teammates, his answer was simple. He said he doesn’t like to see Americans suffering.

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