Student designs device to save stabbing victims’ lives

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 It can then be deflated and withdrawn quickly and easily, unlike some other setups that pack wounds with materials that have to be pulled out a bit at a time.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

Loughborough University

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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