Just one month after it was sent into the field, this new, unique version of a tourniquet saved a life.
The SAM Junctional Tourniquet, designed specifically for life-threatening injuries that are extremely difficult to stabilize due to their location on the body, was inspired by a former Vietnam medic who said the device had to be “brain dead and bomb proof,” according to Wired.
“Junctional bleeding is now the most common cause of preventable death on the battlefield,” Dr. Sam Scheinberg, CEO of SAM Medical, said. He commissioned Portland-based design firm Ziba to develop a tourniquet that can help save the lives of wounded soldiers, with the understanding that the combat medics or fellow soldiers who would likely employ this device might be in the back of a burning Humvee or in a dug-out ditch, and not a sterile operating room.
“If we got this right, people who previously would have died from a common battlefield injury, would now instead be able to make it home to their family,” Niklas Gufstaffson, Creative Director at Ziba, said.
Some of the most common battlefield injuries require immediate hemorrhage control where tourniquets would not be effective, such as with IED/blast injuries or high level amputations. With these types of injuries, time is of the essence, SAM Medical notes.
Their tourniquet offers a simple design; it’s compact, weighing roughly one pound, and requires just four steps to apply — meaning the bleeding solider could have life-saving pressure applied in less than 25 seconds. The Target Compression Device is placed at or near the injury site and pumped up until the bleeding stops.
“What we were basically asked to do is create something that would help stop the bleeding in the very hard to reach pelvic area,” Gufstaffson said.
“IED explosions frequently lead to pelvic fractures and high leg amputations, which current tourniquet technology is not equipped to treat. Ziba’s design is the first field dressing that can be used at the waist. Pneumatic air bladders are hidden under the ballistic nylon surface and are inflated to staunch bleeding, but a clever shut-off valve prevents over-eager medics from over-inflating the device and further injuring their comrades.
“In a war zone it’s likely the medic could be suffering from effects of the same trauma as their patient, so Ziba printed step-by-step instructions right onto the tourniquet. A patented buckle provides clear visual and auditory feedback to ensure the user knows when it is properly set.”
“It seems like weekly we hear from someone else who has tested the device and they come back and say they like it very much and couldn’t be more pleased at this point,” Gustafsson said. ”This project was different than others; In this case, good design could save lives, in a very real sense.”
Check out the videos about the life-saving device, below: