Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

BMC Emergency Medicine






100 (1-10)



First aid performed by immediate responders can be the difference between life and death in the case of trauma with massive bleeding. To develop effective training programs to teach bleeding control to laypersons, it is important to be aware of beliefs and misconceptions people hold on bleeding and severity of bleeding situations.


A controlled study was conducted in which 175 American college students viewed 78 video clips of simulated bleeding injuries. The volume of blood present (between 0 and 1900 ml), rate of blood flow, and victim gender were systematically varied within participants. Participants were asked to rate injury severity, indicate the appropriate first aid action, and estimate the amount of time until death for the victim.


Though the Stop the Bleed® campaign recommends training laypeople to treat 165 ml of blood loss as life threatening, participants largely rated this volume of blood loss as minimal, mild, or moderate and estimated that the victim had just under one hour to live. Increased blood loss was associated with increased recommendations to use a tourniquet. However, in the 1900 ml conditions, participants still estimated that victims had around 22 minutes to live and approximately 15% recommended direct pressure as the intervention. Severity ratings and recommendations to use a tourniquet were also higher for the male victim than the female victim.


Injury classification, intervention selection, and time to death-estimations revealed that training interventions should connect classifications of blood loss to appropriate action and focus on perceptions of how much time one has to respond to a bleeding. The study also revealed a gender related bias in terms of injury classification and first aid recommendations. Bleeding control training programs can be designed to address identified biases and misconceptions while building on existing knowledge and commonly used terminology.


© The Authors 2021

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

The Creative Commons Universal Public Domain Dedication waiver (CC0 1.0) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Original Publication Citation

Prytz, E., Phillips, R., Lönnqvist, S., Friberg, M., & Jonson, C.-O. (2021). Laypeople perception and interpretation of simulated life-threatening bleeding: a controlled experimental study. BMC Emergency Medicine, 21(1), 1-10, Article 100.