Good Thinking

Student designs device to save stabbing victims' lives

Student designs device to save...
REACT consists of a tamponade that is inserted into a stab wound (left), and an actuator that is then used to inflate the tamponade
REACT consists of a tamponade that is inserted into a stab wound (left), and an actuator that is then used to inflate the tamponade
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The 3D-printed prototype (left), and a couple of the tamponades
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The 3D-printed prototype (left), and a couple of the tamponades
REACT consists of a tamponade that is inserted into a stab wound (left), and an actuator that is then used to inflate the tamponade
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REACT consists of a tamponade that is inserted into a stab wound (left), and an actuator that is then used to inflate the tamponade
Joseph Bentley is now working on adapting REACT for other body areas, plus he's perfecting its air pressure settings and making it completely battery-powered
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Joseph Bentley is now working on adapting REACT for other body areas, plus he's perfecting its air pressure settings and making it completely battery-powered
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When someone is suffering from a deep stab wound, it's important to apply pressure within that wound, not just down onto it. A new student-designed device is intended to let first responders do just that, potentially saving lives that might otherwise be lost.

Police officers are often the first people to arrive at the scene of a stabbing. If the knife or other implement is still inside the wound, it's typically left in place until an ambulance arrives. This is because it acts somewhat like a cork, with the pressure that it's applying actually helping to limit internal bleeding.

In many cases, however, police arrive to find an open stab wound that urgently needs to be "plugged." It was with such scenarios in mind that Joseph Bentley – a final-year Product Design and Technology student at Britain's Loughborough University – created the REACT tool.

Its name an acronym for "rapid emergency activating tamponade," the handheld device consists of two parts. One of these parts – the tamponade – is a medical-grade silicone sleeve that's initially inserted into the wound. The other part, called the actuator, is then coupled to a valve on the tamponade and used to inflate it.

Before that happens, though, the user selects the relevant region of the body on an LCD interface on the back of the actuator. Once activated, the device then rapidly inflates the tamponade to an air pressure that's best suited to reducing blood loss from a stab wound in that area.

The actuator is then disconnected, and the inflated tamponade is left in place until paramedics arrive. It can then be deflated and withdrawn quickly and easily, unlike some other setups that pack wounds with materials that have to be pulled out a bit at a time.

The 3D-printed prototype (left), and a couple of the tamponades
The 3D-printed prototype (left), and a couple of the tamponades

REACT currently exists in the form of a 3D-printed prototype that is optimized for use on regions such as the armpit, groin and abdomen. That said, Bentley is now working on adapting it for other body areas, plus he's perfecting its air pressure settings and making it completely battery-powered.

"I’m hoping one day it will be carried by all emergency services – police, ambulance staff, even the military, but the absolute goal is to get this product in use as soon as possible," he says.

The device is demonstrated in the video below.

Student designs life-saving device that rapidly stops bleeding from knife wounds

Source: Loughborough University

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6 comments
6 comments
guzmanchinky
This is fascinating but the thought of this needing to be used on me is terrifying!
Rusty Harris
Very interesting idea! Hope they refine it to make it viable in the field. So many people that get stabbed die because they just
"bleed out". Applying pressure helps, but something that can more easily stabilize the wound until they reach a trauma center
would be better.
Dr.Glove136
Unless the stabbing victim is unconscious, I wonder how you get him or her to hold still while the tamponade is inserted into the wound. The pain must be incredible.
clay
This is brilliant, and though I've not researched it, I am amazed this is the first time something like this is being developed.
Life saving first aid tech is an unsung hero of technical innovation.

I hope it's a success!
joe46
"tamponade", not sure about the name, but I suppose it's apt, "putting something in the whole to stop it bleeding". LOL
a.l.
An important question is whether there is or will be tamponades varying width.

Let’s say that a victim has been shot in his leg and the bullet’s severed the femoral artery. Unless the artery’s closed off the victim will bleed out within four minutes. The bullet’s entry wound may be only 2cm or a little longer (there may be an exit wound, but it would typically be very large and messy to the point that it would bd difficult even for a surgeon in controlled conditions to find a path to the artery). A tamponade suitable for an abdominal stab wound would simply not fit into a bullet’s entry wound, so a variety of sizes from which to choose would seem to be essential. And, assuming that there would be such a variety, would there be an inadequacy of pressure exerted n the sides of a wound from a smaller tamponade?