Ill. officer praised for use of tourniquet in gunshot incident

The Evanston Police Department publicly commended Officer William Arzuaga for his quick actions


By Bob Seidenberg
Pioneer Press Newspapers

EVANSTON, Ill. — Since January, Evanston on-duty police officers have been required to carry a tourniquet as part of their uniform.

That extra item proved especially critical in a call last month in which an Evanston police officer applied a tourniquet to help save a gunshot victim, who otherwise might have bled to death, the department said in a release issued Thursday.

The Evanston Police Department publicly commended Evanston Police Officer William Arzuaga for his quick actions in response to a call of a gunshot victim at 2:33 p.m. April 21 on the 1900 block of Jackson Avenue.

In that incident, officers located a 17-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his leg, said Cmdr. Joseph Dugan, the department spokesperson. Arzuaga, a member of the department's problem-solving team, was one of the first officers on the scene and observed the victim bleeding from his left leg, Dugan said.

Dugan said the officer, an Air Force veteran who has been with the department for 11 years, quickly applied his tourniquet in an attempt to stop the bleeding. The victim was subsequently treated by Evanston Fire Department paramedics and transported to NorthShore Evanston Hospital for treatment, Dugan said.

"It was later learned that the bullet severed the victim's artery, which would have caused extensive blood loss and did require extensive surgery by NorthShore Evanston Hospital physicians to repair," Dugan said. "Doctors credited Officer Arzuaga's quick thinking and proper application of the tourniquet to keep the gunshot victim alive and stabilized until he could arrive at the hospital to be treated by medical personnel for the wound."

With a spate of active shootings, Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington issued an order late last year requiring the carrying of tourniquets. The requirement went into effect Jan. 1, Dugan said. Nationwide, law enforcement officers have successfully used tourniquets to save their "own lives, the lives of their partners and lives of citizens," Dugan said.

"The Evanston Police Department would like to publicly commend the actions of Officer Arzuaga for his quick assessment and proper application of the tourniquet as a life-saving measure," Dugan said in the release. "Officer Arzuaga is a credit to the Evanston Police Department, and his actions show his dedication to the Evanston community."

The department's tactical and S.W.A.T. units have carried tourniquets with them, Dugan said, as has the department's combat medic who accompanies officers for the serving of search warrants and other potentially dangerous situations.

©2016 Pioneer Press Newspapers

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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