Good Samaritan and QuikClot Combat Gauze Aids NC Veteran in Freak Accident
A few weeks ago, local Cary, NC veteran Albert Cinquepalma was trying to make a connection at O’Hare, when a horrific accident almost took his life. His bag got caught while he was on an escalator, forcing him to fall backwards. As he was dragged along, the escalator ripped the skin from much of his arm – and he began to bleed profusely.
People nearby helped him to get off the escalator, but he was losing blood rapidly. Airport security indicated that an emergency care team would take about 20 minutes to arrive, and the nearby first aid kit had nothing to stop the bleeding.
A very fortunate coincidence saved the day for Albert. A good Samaritan named Ted Russell was at O’Hare that day. He is a VP of sales for Z-Medica, a medical device company, and he happened to be carrying some special hemostatic products used to stop bleeding for U.S. soldiers injured in combat.
"I was very fortunate that Ted Russell came by when he did, my left arm was chewed up pretty badly, I was bleeding like a stuck pig," said Cinquepalma. "There was a puddle between my feet and my shirt was saturated"
The 82-year-old veteran explained how Russell stopped, reached in his bag, grabbed his surgical scissors, stuffed the gauze into the wound and wrapped his arm to stop the bleeding.
With the bleeding stopped, Russell left to catch his flight and eventually the EMS team arrived to take Albert to Chicago's Resurrection Hospital. His arm was badly mangled, but he recovered. Russell left behind the packing so that responders could see what had been done to treat Cinquepalma.
Cinquepalma did some research later to identify the company that makes the product – known as QuikClot Combat Gauze – and he eventually tracked down Ted to thank him.
"If anyone is a hero it’s Albert and what he did for our country," Russell said.
"It’s a great product and I think QuikClot is changing the world, who the caregiver is and who has access giving the care,” said Russell. "This is the kind of product a third world country can use to save someone, it’s a low cost product. You can give it to a soccer mom and she’d know what to do with it when she opens it up."
The military has bought 4 million units over the past four years, and all soldiers on the battlefield carry it on them explained Russell. QuikClot was also used on the wounded on the day Arizona Sen. Gabrielle Giffords was shot.
A version of QuikClot is used by many law enforcment officers and another version, QuikClot Sport, can be ordered by civilians in their first-aid kits through Cabella's, one vendor who carries the gauze.
This is not the first time that severe bleeding almost ended Albert’s life – in the military he was severely wounded in the Korean War, where surgeons said he was moments away from bleeding to death 61 years ago.
Cinquepalma served in the Heavy Weapons Infantry, 7th Division, 32nd Regiment, Company D for an 81mm mortar platoon. He took fire in the back on June 2, 1951 when he was a forward observer which led to his medical retirement.