The new tourniquet is designed to offset trauma from IED explosions.
When you imagine a tourniquet, there’s a chance you think back to some Hollywood action flick, where the hero ties his or her belt around the arm of some shot comrade. And that’s all well and good! Tourniquets typically are tied around an arm or a leg to stop the injured from bleeding out.
But combat medics in active war zones don’t often deal with “typical” wounds. In fact, with the rise of IEDs and road-side bombings, many medics are treating soldiers amputated by the blast, with serious injuries in the midsection — an area where the aforementioned tourniquet won’t be of much help.
To deal with such injuries, SAM Medical and design firm Ziba teamed up to produce the SAM Junctional Tourniquet. The SAM JT is specifically designed to treat wounds sustained during an IED blast, looking like an oversized belt with a blood pressure valve tacked on. In reality, the JT has air bladders that fill when activated (and can’t be over-filled, thanks to the built-in stop valve), and keep blood from pouring out of a leg or pelvic wound.
SAM Medical was founded by Dr. Sam Scheinberg, who served as a combat surgeon during Vietnam. He enlisted Ziba to design the Junctional Tourniquet, although the Portland-based design team has never worked on combat equipment before. You might recognize Ziba’s work, though, as they’ve designed ketchup bottles currently used by Heinz, as well as speaker systems for Logitech.
The Junctional Tourniquet has been in service for about a month, and it’s already saved at least one life. It’s also FDA approved, which means it could be coming to a hospital or ambulance near you soon.