Teaching by Example—A Conversation with Dr. Rick Hammesfahr

What comes to your mind when you think of first aid? Is it CPR? Or perhaps the Heimlich maneuver? Both are lifesaving skills that everyone should know. But have you ever thought about what happens when someone is bleeding out from a gunshot wound? If you were faced with this scenario would you know what to do?

Tragedy strikes far too often these days, and accidents can happen too—often when we least expect it. Part of our mission is to educate our Member Family to become responsible gun owners. Part of becoming a responsible gun owner is educating yourself in first aid.

It’s why we created the First Aid for Gunshot Wounds Course through the U.S. LawShield Education Institute. This course brings you some of the most valuable lessons learned for treating gunshot wounds.

To make this course a reality, we partnered with leaders in battlefield medicine, including Rick Hammesfahr, M.D., past chairman of United States Special Operation Command Curriculum and Examination Board and editor of USSOCOM’s Tactical Emergency Medical Protocols for Special Operations medics.

From working with the military to developing Tactical Emergency Medical Support teams for SWAT teams to training officers from multiple law enforcement agencies in the principles of Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Dr. Hammesfahr was involved with battlefield medicine since 2002. He feels that everyone should learn these lifesaving interventions for gunshot wounds.

The Man Behind the Book

Dr. Hammesfahr refined his skill set in battlefield medicine by working with the USSOCOM Special Operations medics and physicians. “I had the opportunity to work with some great Spec Ops medical personnel. These people are all highly motivated, creative and think outside of the box in solving difficult medical issues that arise in remote, hostile environments.”

His foray into battlefield medicine began shortly after 9/11 when he was approached by the U.S. Special Operations Command Surgeon to join a combined civilian-military group. It was during this time that they developed many educational programs and training protocols to ensure interoperability among Special Operations medics responsible for taking care of the wounded in remote circumstances with limited medical supplies.

Dr. Hammesfahr further developed his experience in battlefield medicine when a SWAT team commander in Georgia contacted him to help develop a Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) team to aid SWAT teams in dangerous situations. He took the same principles that were developed for the military and modified them for use in the civilian setting.

Now, Dr. Hammesfahr focuses on bringing these lifesaving interventions used in military and SWAT settings to civilian groups, and now to our Member Family.

Teaching by Example

As someone who carries a gun, Dr. Hammesfahr knows anything can happen, so joining U.S. LawShield was an easy decision. “Just knowing that the professionals are readily available and want to help at all hours of the day or night is very comforting to someone who is carrying a gun,” Dr. Hammesfahr said.

As Medical Director of U.S. & Texas LawShield, a respected instructor, and proud part of our Member Family, Dr. Hammesfahr couldn’t emphasize enough that anyone who owns a firearm should educate themselves on the basics of battlefield medicine. One thing he has observed is that there is a deficit in the knowledge many gun owners have while carrying a firearm. Taking the time to get certified is not only beneficial to gun owners themselves but their families and other people.

This belief has led Dr. Hammesfahr to partnering with U.S. LawShield to created the First Aid for Gunshot Wounds course. “If you have never been exposed to the tragedy of a gunshot wound, then you are totally lost, and you have absolutely no idea how to handle the situation. The biggest advantage of taking a class like this is that you get exposure to it and learn how to prevent the loss of human life,” said Dr. Hammesfahr.


For more information on our First Aid for Gunshot Wounds Course, please call (877) 448-6839 or click here to find an event near you.


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