A UK college senior is doing his part to ‘stop the bleeding’ of violent knife crime by inventing a device that can help first responders better seal wounds.
Depending on the location, the victim of a stabbing doesn’t have long without proper first aid to stop blood loss, but if Joseph Bentley’s new invention is on the scene it could significantly reduce that possibility.
The device is known as the rapid emergency actuated tamponade, or REACT, and it borrows the long-utilized but hardly perfect function of gauze to apply pressure to a wound site to stop blood loss. Once blood clots stop the bleeding, the removal or disturbance of the gauze can reopen both the wound, and the problem.
In contrast, REACT inflates a silicon balloon-like sleeve known as a tamponade, which applies similar pressure and allows the blood to clot. Once the balloon needs to be removed, it’s deflated slowly and gently, allowing the clots to remain intact.
First responders would insert the sleeve into an open wound, and use the actuator device, which looks a bit like a battery-powered hand drill, to first select which part of the body the wound is located on and then inflate the tamponade through a connected valve to exactly the right proportions for the location.
“I know several friends who have been the unfortunate victims of knife crime, thankfully none of the incidents were fatal,” Joseph explained to Loughborough University press.
“The tamponade can be in place and stopping a hemorrhage in under a minute, saving hundreds of lives a year, and as the tamponade is suitable for large cavities like the abdomen, it is also easier and faster to remove than current methods used to stop bleeding, giving the patient the best chance in reconstructive surgery,” he added.
Currently seeking a patent for his tech, Bentley’s REACT is still a prototype, but it’s his hope that he can get it through the necessary stages in order to ensure first responders have access to it ASAP.
“Medical device development takes a long time, but hopefully in a few years the REACT system will be used to control the bleeding in victims of knife crime and save lives,” Bentley said in a statement. “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.”