By Debbie Gregory.
How do you put a tourniquet around the chest?”
It couldn’t be done with the standard issue Combat Application Tourniquet for torso or high leg and arm wounds developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz and Dr. John Croushorn.
So now the Army has now developed “junctional tourniquets” to stop bleeding for most body areas that can’t be serviced by conventional tourniquets.
Developed at Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), Fort Dietrich, Maryland, the junctional tourniquet is essentially a belt with one or more inflatable air bladders that can be puffed up, somewhat like a blood pressure cuff, to apply pressure to a wound. The Army’s Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA), a subordinate command of USAMRMC, has already begun fielding the new tourniquets to improve battlefield survivability rates.
“The device is designed so that a person can position it in under a minute — a crucial factor for combat medics who only have mere minutes to save a fellow warfighter’s life if he or she is hemorrhaging,” according to USAMMA.
The Army found that getting a tourniquet in place quickly and “not necessarily by a medical person but by the infantryman, the soldier that was right there on the ground when the injury occurred – getting that tourniquet on saved a lot of lives,” said Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, who serves as surgeon general of the Army and commander of the Army Medical Command.
The correct use of tourniquets contributed to survivability rates from battlefield wounds that averaged 89.8 percent in Iraq and 91.4 percent in Afghanistan, compared to 76 percent in Vietnam, 78.2 percent in Korea, and 70.7 percent in World War II, according to Army statistics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, post-traumatic bleeding is the leading cause of potentially preventable death among trauma patients. In response, the Department of Homeland Security began a new program called “Stop the Bleed.” The program emphasizes the role bystanders can play in saving lives.