In order to provide a solution to the problem of hemorrhages among soldiers in the field, a major cause of death on the battlefields, the American army has decided to equip its soldiers with a new « tourniquet » type device, supposed to improve management of bleeding.
On the various battlefields, in Iraq or in Afghanistan for example, many are the soldiers of the American army who died drained of their blood, following a hemorrhage after being hit by explosive devices. So, to reduce human losses, the US Army is currently equipping its units with a new tourniquet, equipped with a system that can stop bleeding at the top of the limbs, where the tourniquets usually used are ineffective.
This « junctional » tourniquet comes in the form of a belt to pass around the affected victim, as well as inflatable pockets that compress veins or arteries immediately upstream of the injury, on the groin or shoulder. According to Ellen Crown, a spokeswoman for the US Army’s medical equipment department, this tourniquet can be applied » in less than a minute – a crucial factor for military caregivers who only have a few minutes to act in the event of a haemorrhage“.
This tourniquet has already proven itself on a victim in 2014, in Afghanistan, when a bullet lodged in the upper thigh of a young soldier, severing the femoral artery where a normal tourniquet would have only had very little effect. One of the inflatable bags did its job of compressing the artery, saving the young soldier. This is a » way to try to save more lives“, the traditional tourniquet not enjoying a good reputation in times of war, since, often badly posed, it damages the nerves and tissues of the injured limb.
Training is currently being offered to soldiers in the proper use of this new tourniquet. » They are the ones who will take care of their buddy if something happens. If soldiers are in a vehicle hit by an explosive device, there may not be a rescuer, just a surviving soldier who knows how to put on a tourniquet in minutes explains the American military doctor.
Other solutions are being studied by the Pentagon to try to eradicate deaths by hemorrhage in the field, such as the system xstat, consisting of the injection of several small sponges into a wound, which swell rapidly to stop bleeding. A test of this device in real conditions would have made it possible, there too, to save the life of a young soldier, according to the daily Army Times.