A stabbing victim can bleed to death in under five minutes, so stopping blood loss is extremely important. To address this, Loughborough University design and technology student Joseph Bentley created a device that can quickly stop a gash from bleeding.
The device, which he calls REACT, is comprised of a silicone sleeve and a handheld device. It uses pressure to prevent bleeding, targeting areas that aren’t easy to treat, like the armpit, groin, and abdomen, by inserting the sleeve (a tamponade) in the wound. The sleeve is connected to the handheld device, which is called an actuator.
Once the wound is found by the actuator, the sleeve inflates to a defined pressure in order to stop internal bleeding.
According to Bentley, his REACT prototype can pack a wound more rapidly and more effectively than conventional methods. In the event of a stabbing, police rather than paramedics are usually the first on the scene, so Bentley’s goal was to create a product that police could use easily, even if their training isn’t as specified as a paramedic’s when it comes to treating wounds.
Even still, the way that a paramedic would traditionally go about treating a stab wound is to use a bleed control kit that contains gauze that is then pressed into the wound with great force. Sometimes, the gauze can successfully be pushed into the wound in a procedure called wound packing. The gauze provides internal pressure to the site of the wound and pinches close any potential severed arteries—however, this method wouldn’t work for wounds in a cavity like an abdomen.
REACT is a quicker and simpler way to treat a wound, and on top of that, it offers a safer removal process as removing gauze from a wound can rip open the blood clot which causes the blood flow to resume. According to Bentley, “REACT works like the balloon on the inside of papier-mache, and can be removed safely, leaving the clot intact.”
Although the prototype is specific to wounds in difficult cavities, Bentley is hoping to work on more devices that would work in other parts of the body.