Mark Your Calendar: New Findings On Police Combat Medical Care

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New findings about officers’ efforts to administer combat medical care at the scenes of OISs will be revealed at this year’s annual Lewinski Lecture on Nov. 21.

Dr. Matthew Sztajnkrycer, the internationally recognized “SWAT doc” and Force Science consultant associated with the Mayo Clinic, will discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned from his unique recent study of police attempts to save lives in crisis situations before the arrival of medical professionals.

Sztajnkrycer is an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Mayo Clinic and medical director for the Rochester (MN) PD and the Olmsted County (MN) SO. The cutting-edge, annual Lewinski Lecture series is sponsored by Minnesota State U.-Mankato in honor of the long-time faculty service in its law enforcement department of Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute.


In assessing the current realities of tactical medicine, Sztajnkrycer analyzed more than 100 body camera videos from shooting scenes in the US.

“I wanted to see in real time what the on-scene medical needs are in that kind of crisis, what tactical conditions and ongoing threats may influence officer intervention, and what lessons could be learned for improvement,” he told Force Science News.

Typically, he says, the care needed and attempted involves the administration of CPR and the application of tourniquets, hemostatic dressings, and chest seals.

“Traditionally,” Sztajnkrycer says, “law enforcement has operated primarily to support EMS personnel, ensuring scene safety and situational stability rather than providing direct medical care. But today LEOs as on-scene responders are increasingly viewed as a key component in the out-of-hospital chain of survival,” expected to render aid to wounded fellow officers, suspects, and civilians.

“Recently in some high-profile force encounters,” Sztajnkrycer says, “the medical response of officers to injured subjects has been questioned, and a failure to render appropriate and timely aid to victims has been featured in lawsuits and settlements.”


In his presentation, Sztajnkrycer will draw on graphic video footage to highlight real-world shortcomings and proficiencies, tactical conditions that may prohibit medical intervention, the cognitive factors that impact decision-making and performance under high stress, the critical gaps in training and practice, and recommendations for improving the odds of saving the lives of injured parties.

Among other subjects, he’ll address:

  • the need to better publicize the successes of on-scene trauma care by police;
  • the need for model training programs and national standards for crisis care unique to law enforcement responders;
  • the need for reliable and comprehensive data collection that will allow lessons learned from critical incidents to be quickly communicated to trainers and officers in the field, and
  • the need for changes in the packaging of treatment equipment to accommodate the effects of intense stress on human motor skills.

His presentation, “The Thin Blue Line Meets the Red Cross,” plus Q and A, is expected to last about two hours. Also appearing will be Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, who will supplement Sztajnkrycer’s lecture on medical care and provide in addition an update on current Force Science research projects.


The free event will run from 9 AM to noon on Nov. 21, in Ostrander Auditorium in the Centennial Student Union at MSU in Mankato. Three POST credits will be awarded for Minnesota officers. Limited seating is available for a complementary lunch after the lecture.

For more information, contact Dr. Colleen Clarke at: colleen.clarke@mnsu.edu.

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