By Debbie Gregory.
Battlefield medics and emergency responders have seen it before: a patient with no visible wounds suddenly goes into shock from internal bleeding. Getting rapid treatment for wounds or injuries suffered on the battlefield can mean the difference between life and death.
Army medical researchers recently developed “a device that will revolutionize triage,” according to Lt. Col. Robert Carter, a task area manager for Tactical Combat Casualty Care Research at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
The device, called the Compensatory Reserve Index, or CRI, is about the size of a small matchbox with a computer display. A wire connects it to a plastic clip that’s placed on an injured Soldier’s finger. The device displays vital signs: body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure.
Internal injuries caused by a blast that resulted in severe, life-threatening injuries would likely go unnoticed until the vital signs were taken. With the CRI, a medic can quickly snap the device on to everyone who is down and the vital signs are almost immediately displayed, Carter said.
Lt. Col. Will Smith, an emergency medicine physician in the Army Reserve, said “It could revolutionize how we take care of patients in both the pre-hospital as well as the hospital setting. If this device can be validated and receive clinical approval, then it has an amazing potential to save lives.”
Currently, CRI is being tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for certification. Then the Army will determine whether or not to field it, Carter said. Meanwhile, multiple civilian trauma care centers and clinics around the country are testing and using the device, as the Army has decided to share its technology.
“Right now, the Israeli Defense Force is using it and saving lives,” he added, predicting that in the future, CRI “will save a lot of time and a lot of lives” when it gets in the hands of U.S. Army medics.
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Game-changing Device May Save Lives: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory