Uncontrolled hemorrhage from a severed arm or leg wound can result in death within minutes often before an ambulance can arrive. Those nearest to someone with life-threatening injuries are best positioned to provide immediate care if they are equipped with the appropriate training and resources, including the injured individual themselves. The U.S. Military found this out shortly after entering the War on Terror resulting in the development and issuing of tourniquets as standard items to each deployed warfighter.
The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured 264 others, was one major incident that prompted the White House in 2015 to launch its Stop the Bleed campaign.
This national initiative was designed to provide civilian bystanders with tools and knowledge to stop life-threatening bleeding from many types of emergencies whether manmade or natural. The program brought together a number of federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations to develop and disseminate resources to train the public in bleeding control. The Stop the Bleed campaign is taking knowledge gained by civilian and military emergency medical providers and placing it into the hands of the public to save lives.
In response, MCIRCC members from the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Mechanical Engineering collaborated to create a tourniquet that is far more user-friendly, less painful of an application to patients, and widely available to the general public.
Despite the proven life-saving power of existing tourniquets, they can be difficult to use and the required pressure to be applied around the limb results in a painful application.
MCIRCC has re-imagined a tourniquet designed for civilians and civilian emergency care providers. A unique tightening mechanism allows for a wider tourniquet band with the ability to apply greater pressure with less force, resulting in less discomfort. Self-use is also possible, like military-designed tourniquets this can also be applied using one hand.
The vision for the tourniquet is to be available not only in publicly assessable locations like Automatic External Defibrillators, but also to be widely available for purchase. Such devices are likely to have their widest impact when made as a part of first aid kits for the home, vehicles, travel, etc.