Dyson Award Goes To Emergency Medical Device For Treating Stab Wounds

[Joseph Bentley] must be one of those people who sees opportunity in problems. He had several friends who were victims of knife attacks, so he developed REACT, a device that would allow police or other first responders to quickly help victims of stab wounds. The project won the Dyson award and you can see the video about it, below.

The device has two parts: a medical-grade silicone sleeve and a handheld actuator. The sleeve actually inserts into the stab wound and the actuator pressurizes the sleeve based on the location of the wound. The actuator has a user interface to allow the operator to select the area of the body affected.

We don’t know much about emergency medicine, but apparently, the current method is to apply pressure externally and this doesn’t do much for internal bleeding. The sleeve solves that and [Bentley] thinks the device can save many lives if brought to market. Of course, getting a medical device actually on the market is a long road fraught with regulatory peril. We hope the Dyson award will help [Bentley] get the product in the hands of people who can use it to good purpose.

We are very interested in replacing damaged body parts, but saving people from losing body parts or life is good, too. Sometimes, just calling for help is worthwhile.

67 thoughts on “Dyson Award Goes To Emergency Medical Device For Treating Stab Wounds

  1. I read this article giddily waiting for the hilariously morbid failure. When I got to the end, I realised I was thinking of the wrong award. “Dyson Award” and “Darwin Award” are too close together.

  2. “The sleeve actually inserts into the stab wound and the actuator pressurizes the sleeve based on the location of the wound.”

    That sounds painless (NOT). The first step should be to introduce some sort of pain reliever.

    1. Read the linked source article; looks like the alternative currently is that they (the medical responders) literally stuff the wound full of gauze to stop bad bleeding.

      Like down in the stab hole.

      Which as one might guess, seems to cause issues later on when trying to heal/fix the wound.
      Considering that doing nothing = die from blood loss in many cases, doing nothing isn’t a great option.

      Considering that, I think I’d rather have this thing stuffed in my chest then a lump of fuzzy gauze that clots into place. Might hurt a lot, but so did the knife, and I kinda want to live.

        1. Yes, the word “read” has different meanings depending on context. Many verbs do. That’s (one of the reasons) why pronouns exist. This (relatively) recent societal trend of dropping “I” from the beginning of a sentence (and just beginning the sentence with a verb; eg: “Like this website.”), while saving texters TONS of time, does have its drawbacks. :-)

          1. Also “then” instead of “than”. I initially thought you meant first having the device inserted, then the gauze. English is not my first language but I’ve learned to identify a than with the face of a then. XD

    2. If you’re literally minutes away from death easing pain is not the priority. Plus like the other guy said, the victims adrenaline level would be through the roof so it’s doubtful that it would be feeling much anyway.

    3. I don’t know if civilian medical professionals subscribe to the 3 Ps, but I was taught it in first aid classes in the military. It’s “Pain is the Patient’s Problem”. Not Dying(TM) is more important than the pain experienced during treatment in an life-threatening emergency

    1. Also, a tourniquet around a limb usually means that limb has to be amputated. This device would not only save the victim, but also possibly save the limb.

      I was expecting an electric device to stop the bleeding, much like the modern “electric knife” commonly used for surgery nowadays. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrosurgery

      Would there be a good reason such a device isn’t used for emergency care?

      1. “Also, a tourniquet around a limb usually means that limb has to be amputated.”
        Mostly false:
        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30020226/
        https://www.blueforcegear.com/articles/post/Tourniquet-Myths-news-post.html
        https://wjes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1749-7922-2-28 -> Long one,but interesting read on the history and developing knowledge on use of tourniquets

        Unless the victim doesn’t get to the hospital for several hours (3+) there seems little increased risk of limb loss from application of a tourniquet in case of severe traumatic injury to a limb. There IS an increased risk of nerve and muscle damage at the site of tourniquet application. But if the choice is nerve damage or bleeding to death, for gods sake apply a tourniquet. In fact, in the case of a severe arterial bleed I suspect a tourniquet would be more effective to stop a bleed in an arm or leg than this device.

      2. Hmm, I just made a reply but it appears the backend ate it (or it needs to be moderated but we don’t get a warning about it)

        Anyways: “Also, a tourniquet around a limb usually means that limb has to be amputated. This device would not only save the victim, but also possibly save the limb.”

        Mostly false:
        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30020226/
        https://www.blueforcegear.com/articles/post/Tourniquet-Myths-news-post.html
        https://wjes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1749-7922-2-28 <- Long read but very interesting with a look into the history of tourniquets and the developing knowledge and practice of their use over time, starting in the US civil war

        In summary, application of tourniquet is an effective method of stopping bleeding in case of severe trauma to a limb. It's use might pose a slightly increased risk of nerve and muscle damage at the application site of the tourniquet, but if the choice is "risk of nerve damage" over "will bleed out in a few minutes" then by all means apply a tourniquet. There is little evidence to support tourniquets increase the rate of limb loss, especially when timely hospital care can be obtained (<3 hrs)

      3. Just to pick a nit, most of the time a tourniquet does allow you to keep the limb, assuming there is enough limb left to save. They’ve been left on for hours with no ill effects. If you’re in the US, I’d highly recommend taking a “Stop the Bleed” course if you’ve got a spare evening, they’re free and morbidly fun if you’re not squeamish.

        1. Definitely true: it takes minutes to bleed to death, while it would take hours to damage tissue to a point where amputation would result. The general conclusion is that a tourniquet can be left in place for 2 h with little risk of permanent ischaemic injury:
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2660095/
          Let’s remember that all these measures are just temporary to stabilize the patients on their way to a properly sfaffed and equipped hospital: stop the bleeding with a rope tourniquet and wash out the wound with tap water is fine, they’ll do the surgery and antibiotics later.

          1. My dad is a surgeon. He assisted on a case with a high school kid that rolled an ATV down a hill and a tree branch perforated one of his femoral arteries. He was way out in the country and it was 4 hours between puncture and repair of the artery. His friends used a tourniquet just below his groin, so his leg had basically no blood flow. As far as I know, he has no lingering side effects and went on to play football in college.

  3. “The first step should be to introduce some sort of pain reliever.” — I’m not a medical professional, but I believe you’d need to first inspect the patient’s medication and medical-history to see if there are e.g. some allergies and that’d slow the crucial first steps down. Seems to me that stemming the bleeding, regardless of how painful it is to the patient, takes priority and you can then apply some sort of pain-relieve once you know what can be applied in the situation.

    Many people may not realize it, but even something as common as plain, old ibuprofen isn’t safe for everyone and every situation, like e.g. it doesn’t play well together with blood-thinners. There are also people who are allergic to it.

    1. Codeine is a commonly used pain med. It’s also one that many people are allergic to. For me it causes vomiting and facial numbness. Found that out when I had an injury at 18 that required a hospital stay after an operation. I couldn’t keep any food down and my face was going numb. My father was with me, told the docs he’s allergic to Codeine and so was his mother.

      So they get me *one pill* of some other pain med and in five minutes I’m starving and feeling much better. I can finally go home.

      They prescribe some pain meds, dad goes to the pharmacy and finds out they prescribed Codeine! He was not at all happy about that.

  4. Far to complex.
    8-12 gram (0.28–0.42 oz) Powerlet cartridge filled with liquid CO2, typically used in paintball guns, could be used through a pressure reducing valve would easily generate the 7000 to 21000 pascal (1-3 psi) required to match blood pressure until the device needed to be removed.

      1. Too bulky I would think – a tiny cartridge and regulator with the silicon balloon would fit in its sterile bag on a little belt pouch just fine I would think – meaning it can become part of your standard Police kit easily, needing a hand pump is fine for paramedics with their ambulance/car/bike where you can carry a little extra bulk, and might be expected to deal with multiple injury without pause for restock though – got to carry a few extras of those stab balloons along with everything else…

  5. Unless I’m missing something, it Seems like it’s been very productised before it’s even been tested.
    At least stab a pig and check it works?
    Or maybe they left that out of the video to keep it friendly.

    Also, my initial thought is that that silicone thing might not easily slide into a stab wound, especially with all the insides trying to get out. But perhaps it partially pressurises to make it rigid enough to push in.

    And…
    “Oh no, I’ve been stabbed with a knife!”
    “Let me stab you with this knife of healing to save you!”
    Sounds like something from swords comic…

    1. >stab a pig and check it works
      Pushing project through bio-etics committe is a costly process of pissing unto wind, especially project like that. Doing without that is not only useless for moving project on, but also probably quick way to get into legal troubles.

  6. Knives aren’t all the same size and stab wounds aren’t all the same depth. Then there’s stabbing muscle in a limb VS stabbing into a lung or into the squishy organs in the abdomen. Things can move around in there. How to ensure this can be slid right into where the knife went? How does it handle different wound depths?

    1. Right now, the only treatment that can be done is apply external pressure. If any additional pressure can be applied directly at the wounded area, that seems like a much better outcome is likely.
      If it only gets halfway, that’s still a lot better than zero

      1. But how well does this gizmo work when the silicone blade can only be stuck in half way and the rest of it sticking out can flap around instead of having the flange secure against the person’s skin?

    1. Hah! Why would you solve problems? It’s much easier to just go around and ban even legimate use cases. Ban ban ban everything i’m slightly afraid of, don’t understand, am just not interested in or that just is the current trendy thing to hate!

    2. Great idea!

      How do you recommend we do that? So far every effort to “solve society’s problems” has resulted in untold amounts of suffering, war, famine, genocide, and various other forms of oppression and bloodshed.

      You can’t legislate away human nature.

  7. Reminds me about those packs of cotton/cellulose small pellets meant to be inserted into the wounds – the blood absorbed by the pellets are enough to make them expand, and that is barely enough to apply pressure from the inside, blocking the internal bleeding. Sure enough, it makes the affected area a “bloody mess”, literally, but a surgical team should be able to clean the area and properly fix the leaks.

    Of course, adding a lot of sterile pellets made of organic materials may pose a risk of infection, but for starters the wound wasn’t open with a scalpel in a sterile environment, right?

    Can’t remember if it is being really used, if it’s under study / tests, or just a concept.

  8. Anyone that thinks that “external pressure” is the go-to method for treating hemorrhage REALLY needs to take a STB (Stop The Bleed) Class.

    Pack the wound, pack the wound, pack the wound

    Then pressure dressing

    Then tourniquet if applicable (extremities)

  9. Some time ago, I saw a cartoon where a grocery store employee was using tampons to plug the bullet holes in an organize crime figure who had been shot in the feminine hygiene section of the store. I thought, “Hey, that would work.” Turns out, that’s what military medics supposedly use.

      1. Well I think a wound “tampon” would be a good idea. A large gauze like tube, impregnated with anticoagulant in a sterile wrapper would be a good idea. Pull it out and stuff it in, no fuss, no muss.

        1. That’s basically what wound packing gauze is, a very long sterile packaged strip of impregnated gauze that you press into the wound. The advantage of the gauze strip over a tampon like tube is that it’s much more adaptable to the wound size and can work in anything from a small stab wound to a large bullet wound

          1. Oh, I can see that. (As you can tell I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV so thanks for the explanation. :) But that does give me another idea, what would you think of a can of pressurized medical “foam” that would be sprayed into the wound to apply pressure and induce clotting. Think expanding foam for holes in people not buildings.

  10. Packing the wound allows the gauze to spread into irregular spaces. This device will just push the bleeders away. Thrombotic gauze would be better-gauze covered in procoagulant

  11. Knowing Dyson and his habit of switching sides whenever he can make the most personal gain, I fully suspect he’ll bring this to market, as well as a selection of overpriced knives.

    1. This has to be a US invention. Pointlessly over teched and given the number of wounds in the UK you couldn’t control with external pressure would mean you’d need 1000s of devices to even have a remote chance of being available when other current good options aren’t available (and it doesn’t even coat the surface with an anti coagulant !!). Totally appropriate for the Darwin award.
      I bet a CO2 cartridge canister could be attached to a sealed plastic bag around an injection tube with a pressure control valve would do the job just as well – also a lot cheaper, and a lot easier to cart around. You could sell the functional part separately and just buy a bunch of CO2 canisters from the local bike shop for £1 a pop :-)

  12. I’ve never seen a series of comments so highly contrasted between:
    – the uninformed uselessly speculating away, vs.
    – the informed or near expert information.

    Waiting for a hack involving a condom, a bicycle pump, and a 555.

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