Navy

Self-treatment system for traumatic injury

Wilderness and battlefield medicine components designed for solo application by the injured person

Medical & Biotechnology

Field medicine procedures such as applying a tourniquet are difficult when the injured person has no help. (U.S. Navy photo)

If injured and alone, a person must be able to self-administer emergency medical treatment to avoid shock, loss of consciousness and possible death. And, while many outdoor enthusiasts and certainly all military personnel are trained in such procedures, the tools at hand could be improved. This is especially true in the case where the injured person has lost the ability to use a hand. In such a case the practiced procedures such as applying a tourniquet become very difficult.

Now, Navy researchers have developed a set of medical treatments and tools usable by an injured person to self-treat injuries and provide information back to the injured person and first responders. The kit and items are specifically adapted for use by an injured party who is likely to have reduced the ability to utilize and manipulate emergency medical equipment due to shock, lack of grip, restriction to one-hand, loss of motor skill, and other debilitations. Components include:

  1. Solo tourniquet (ST) – This unique device is designed for one hand application. The semi-rigid strap is actuated by a ratcheting system. The ST includes a Vitamin K (clotting agent) and morphine auto-injector activated by a safety switch. Activation of the ratchet automatically sends information including vital signs and person ID to medical support through the communications module mentioned below.
  2. Sensors for monitoring vital signs – Built into a uniform or undershirt, the sensors provide heartrate from multiple locations (a finger sensor can monitor distal pulse).
  3. Communications – A comms module provides Bluetooth or long-range voice and data link to a remote medical monitoring site along with geolocation.
  4. Interface – A simple GUI provides heart rate readout, time at which the ST was applied, and communications status.

A software application running on a ruggedized tablet is used by responders and shows activation and signal status, personal medical information, medical treatment applied by the injured person, pick up location, and bearing to the injured party.

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