Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Rugged Blood for Rugged Men: Freeze-Dried Plasma Saves SOF Life

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

The life of a foreign partner nation force member was saved last month through MARSOC’s first operational use of freeze-dried plasma.

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The foreign ally sustained life-threatening injuries during an operation in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, requiring battlefield trauma care made possible by MARSOC training and availability of the new product.

According to U.S. Navy Lt. Eric Green, force health protection officer, freeze-dried plasma is providing better medical care on the battlefield. Green is the study coordinator with MARSOC Health Services Support. He explained that freeze-dried plasma is a dehydrated version of plasma that replaces the clotting factors lost in blood. Typically, plasma is frozen and thawed over a period of five days, preventing quick use in a deployed setting.

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Another disadvantage of traditional blood products for special operations is the need for additional equipment, such as refrigerators and electricity. This creates a higher target profile for special operations forces (SOF) teams, and presents a logistical challenge for Navy corpsmen. Use of such equipment, as well as timely casualty evacuation options, is not always possible during SOF missions. FDP eliminates the need for this equipment and buys precious time for corpsmen to treat the injured before evacuation.

“I think it reassures Raiders that when they’re in harm’s way, they have a life-saving product in the medical bags of their very capable corpsmen,” said Green.

With the need for freezing and refrigeration eliminated, FDP can sustain a wider range of temperatures and is therefore more stable and reliable than traditional plasma during military operations. The dehydrated state of the plasma allows for a shelf life of two years and is compatible with all blood types. Before MARSOC received approval to begin use of freeze-dried plasma, battlefield treatment options for hemorrhaging – the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield – were mainly limited to tourniquets and chemical clotting agents.

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“It is stable in the field unlike whole blood or if we were to do fresh plasma or frozen plasma, so our guys can carry it with them in their resuscitative packs,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Necia Williams, FDP primary principal investigator and MARSOC force surgeon with MARSOC HSS. “They can quickly reconstitute it, infuse it to somebody and it buys time that is so critical.”

According to U.S. Navy Lt. Aaron Conway, Marine Raider Regiment surgeon with MARSOC HSS, reconstitution happens within six minutes and patients start showing improvement in vital signs minutes later. The precious time bought using FDP allows medical personnel to transfer patients to a hospital where they can receive full medical care. Conway, MARSOCs FDP principal investigator, said during medical care, FDP’s effects can be physically seen most in a patient when surgery and recovery is happening.

Since December 2016, every MARSOC special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman deploys with a supply of freeze-dried plasma and the experience to administer it. By October 2017, every MARSOC unit deployed will be outfitted with FDP.

Once the FDP has returned unused from a deployment it goes into quarantine and gets used during training exercises to prepare Navy corpsmen in its use. Corpsmen go through a rigorous academic and practical training process to prepare them for the field. They get practical experience before deploying and learn how to reconstitute and identify the indications to use FDP.

“We’ve trained with it, we’ve sourced it to our guys, and now we’ve actually got the combat wounded application of the product,” said Conway. “I think it is a tip of the spear life-saving measure.”

This life-saving measure is manufactured by French Centre de Transfusion Sanguine de Armees and used since 1994. They provide the U.S. with FDP while it is pending Food and Drug Administration approval and is under an Investigative New Drug protocol. Currently the use of FDP has been allowed within U.S. Special Operations Command. MARSOC was the second service component within U.S. Special Operations Command to receive approval for use of freeze-dried plasma.

In 2010, U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, then-SOCOM commander, learned that U.S. allied forces were using FDP successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan. McRaven wanted it made available to U.S. forces, so he pushed his plan and helped expedite the process between the White House and the FDA.

The main roadblock getting FDA approval was the historical spike of Hepatitis B after World War II, causing the stoppage of production and use by U.S. forces, resulting in rigorous testing and changes to the original formula. Plasma donors now undergo more testing for infectious diseases to prevent similar events. Freeze-dried plasma is expected to receive FDA approval by 2020.

Story by Cpl. Bryann Whitley
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Salvador R. Moreno)

Video Depicts RATS Tourniquet Efficacy Comfirmed by Doppler 

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

There has been a great deal pushback on the Rapid Application (RATS) Tourniquet since it was released several years ago. Critics have been asking to see it used in conjunction with Doppler Ultrasound in order to prove its efficacy. What the Doppler does is determine whether blood flow has actually stopped after Application of the Tourniquet. In this video, inventor Jeff Kirkham demonstrates just that.

Jeff Kirkham is a Special Forces NCO with over 28 years of active and Guard experience. In fact he still serves in 19th Group. He’s also served as a DEA special agent.

ratsmedical.com

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Eleven 10’s TEMS Entry Aid Bag

Friday, August 11th, 2017

This week’s Friday Focus features Eleven 10 and the TEMS Entry Aid Bag which FS manufactures for them.  This Q&A offers some great insight.


What drove the development of the TEMS bag?

We found that most of the aid bags on the market were too large for a lot of SWAT entry medics, and were originally designed for the DOD and that medical mission set. Medics on SWAT teams usually carry less equipment than their DOD counterparts because of evac times and other factors. So, we worked on designing a bag that allows the medic to carry exactly what they need in a compact, slim lined package. The new TEMS Entry Aid Bag along with the TEMS First Line Pouch have really allowed the TEMS Medic to reduce the profile of their loadout, without sacrificing capabilities.


Was USA manufacturing important or necessary to 1110 for this bag? 

Absolutely. All of Eleven 10’s products are made in the USA. We made the decision to manufacture domestically when we created out very first RIGID TQ Case, and haven’t looked back since. It’s not a contract requirement thing for us, but a desire to see Made in the USA on more products in our industry.


How did the relationship with FS begin and why did you ultimately choose FS to manufacture the equipment, as well as use 6/12 technology on the bag?

We approached FirstSpear a couple of years ago to work on a new line of medical pouches for us. They have a great reputation of making solid, reliable gear and they are a 100% made in America manufacturer, so they fit well with the Eleven 10 brand. We also gravitated to their manufacturing techniques like 6/12, and the fact that they are always pushing innovation when it comes to soft goods. The 6/12 technology allows us to have the features we needed, but cut out a lot of the unneeded weight from the product.


What was the process like developing a product with FS? 

Product development with FirstSpear has been a refreshingly easy process. Whether we’ve needed an existing design moved right to production, or we had a design idea that needed further engineering, they’ve been a great partner. We’re able to get from drawings to having a prototype in our hands in weeks as opposed to months. This ultimately speeds up our entire product launch timeline.


Any new products on the horizon with 1110 and FirstSpear? 

We have several other products in the design and/or prototype pipeline with FirstSpear. So, you can expect some new products to drop in the near future.

Embedded Air Force Researchers Develop Innovative Battlefield Medical Technology

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bean, an Air Force pararescue jumper, demonstrates how BATDOK can be worn on the wrist, providing awareness of the health status of multiple patients. Developing BATDOK required Air Force medical researchers to embed with pararescue jumpers on live missions to ensure the tool met the rigorous standards required by combat Airmen.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Imagine the chaos and challenge of delivering life-saving care in a battlefield environment. That’s what faced a group of Air Force researchers as they developed a new electronic patient monitoring tool for use on the battlefield. Overcoming this challenge required an integrated development process, where the researchers left the lab, and embedded on missions with medical Airmen.

The technology they developed, the Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit, or BATDOK, is software than can run on a smartphone or other mobile devices, and draws patient information from a wide variety of commercially available, U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved sensors. It lets medics monitor multiple patients in the field, seeing vital information and managing multiple patients in a chaotic environment.

The integrated development process was critical to making BATDOK a tool that seamlessly integrates mobile capabilities for Airmen in the field, said Dr. Gregory Burnett, of the Airman Systems Directorate in the Warfighter Interface Division of the 711th Human Performance Wing. Dr. Burnett managed the development of BATDOK for the Air Force.

“BATDOK is a multi-patient, point of injury, casualty tool that assists our human operators and improves care,” said Burnett. “It can be a real-time health status monitoring for multiple patients, a documentation tool, a user-definable medical library, a portal to integrate patient data into their electronic health records, and finally it is interoperable with battlefield digital situation awareness maps, which helps identify the exact location of casualties.”

Dr. Burnett’s background is in computer engineering, with an emphasis in embedded electronics and mobile interfaces. This theoretical knowledge helped the Air Force Research Laboratory development team design the look and feel of BATDOK, but more intimate knowledge was needed for the tool to be most useful for operators in the field.

“We physically left the lab, got into the field with the operators, and observed firsthand the challenges and deficiencies they face,” said Burnett. “And when I say into the field, I mean we literally rode in the helicopters into hot landing zones, and observed medical Airmen stabilize and package up patients for transport and load them back on the helicopter.

“We see, at the point of injury, the challenges and limitations that our medical Airmen face. With those lessons learned and gaps identified through direct experience, we come back to the lab and devise innovative solutions to address the short falls we observed firsthand in the field.”

The integration didn’t stop once the BATDOK development team got back to their lab. They continued to interact with the operators from their deployment, and got their feedback throughout the process.

“From day one, every interface, every button, every menu, was user-validated by pararescue Airmen and combat rescue officers that were involved in the design, integration and testing process,” said Burnett. “Nothing is added without the explicit request and review by the operator.”

This brings first firsthand knowledge to the development process. The development team and the operators sit down and walk through the mission step-by-step. They identify areas where current technology can be improved, or where a gap exists, and then share ideas to innovate new solutions and capabilities.

This process helps the team identify requirements and avoid unforeseen downsides to new technology. Medical Airmen deploy with heavy loads, so can be cautious about adding new gear. Working so closely with the operator helps the team integrate BATDOK into the tactical ensemble.

“BATDOK was designed to not add any additional burden to battlefield Airmen’s tactical ensemble,” said Burnett. “From the beginning, we are designing to enhance capabilities, while aiding their survivability and lethality.”

“Being part of the Air Force gives us flexibility and firsthand, unfiltered access to operators and perspective on the challenges that Airmen face. This is true for both humanitarian and combat missions. Being able to observe in person is invaluable, and helps us contribute to the overall readiness mission.”

By Peter Holstein, Air Force Surgeon General Office of Public Affairs

ADS Talks Cardiac Arrests And AEDs

Friday, August 4th, 2017

In a recent blog post on their site, ADS discusses cardiac arrest and introduces the reader to Cardiac Science’s G5 AED with Intellisense™ CPR Feedback Device.

The Powerheart G5 is the first AED to combine fully automatic shock delivery, dual-language functionality, variable escalating energy, and fast shock times to help save an SCA victim‘s life.

To read the post, visit adsinc.com/SavingLives.

Team Wendy Part of Groundbreaking Research Grant on Traumatic Brain Injury

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Under the direction of researchers at Brown University, others from Drexel University, Sandia National Laboratory and Team Wendy are working together to study how Traumatic Brain Injuries form and developing new helmet technologies to counter them.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With a new $4.75 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, a team of scientists aims to develop new insights into how traumatic injuries form in the brain and develop new helmet technologies to help prevent them.

"The helmets used today on the battlefield and on playing fields are tested against a standard developed in late seventies to prevent skull fractures," said Christian Franck, the grant's principal investigator and an associate professor in Brown's School of Engineering. "We want to update that standard to assess how well a helmet protects the soft tissue inside the skull–the brain–and ultimately develop a prototype helmet that meets our new standard."

Accomplishing that will require a comprehensive, multi-level understanding of how forces are transmitted from a helmet to the skull, from the skull through the brain and ultimately to the individual neural cells that are damaged during traumatic brain injury (TBI).

(A device developed by Brown University researchers can deliver compressive impacts to 3-D cultures of brain cells and monitor how the cells react to that trauma in real time. The device could help scientists better understand how traumatic brain injury occurs at the cellular level. photo by: Nick Dentamaro / Brown University)

Franck will work with Brown colleagues Diane Hoffman-Kim and Haneesh Kesari, as well as researchers from Drexel University, Sandia National Laboratory and Team Wendy, a manufacturer of helmets and helmet liners.

Franck's lab at Brown has developed a novel technique for measuring the effects of traumatic forces on individual neurons. Most previous research on TBI at the cellular level has been done on two-dimensional petri dishes, but Franck uses a custom-built device that can apply compressive forces to neurons inside three-dimensional cell cultures, while using a powerful microscope to continuously monitor changes in cell structure. Franck has already used the system to gain new insights into how cells respond to traumatic strain. With is new grant, he plans to establish precise force thresholds for the onset of cellular injury.

"We want to know how much force inside the brain is too much for cells," Franck said. "That gives us a baseline for understanding exactly what kinds of forces are involved in TBI at the cellular level."

The lab of Hoffman-Kim, an associate professor of medical science and of engineering at Brown, works with mini-brains, or neuron bundles that model basic properties of living brains. The mini-brains offer a more complex cell culture than those Franck has worked with previously, which enables the researchers to better recreate the actual brain environment in which neurons operate.

The information gleaned from the cellular level will be combined with results of studies designed to better understand the forces on a helmeted head generated by typical blunt impacts and blast waves. To do that, the research team will work with Team Wendy to develop a sensor system that can be fitted to existing helmets used in combat and athletics. In 2013, Franck and Team Wendy developed a simple but fully functional impact acceleration measuring combat helmet system, which served as a proof of principle for the current grant.

The team will build upon that initial sensor design, then they'll use facilities at Drexel and Team Wendy to test the response of helmets to a wide variety of forces, and how those forces are transmitted to the skull.

To complete the picture of how forces transmitted by a helmet are distributed through the brain to individual cells, Franck will work with researchers at Sandia National Laboratory. The Sandia team who has developed models of the head and neck based on thousands of CT scans. Those models are able to provide insights into how forces are transmitted through soft tissue.

"We want put all these pieces together from the macroscopic level of helmets to the microscopic level of cells to get a complete picture of how these injuries occur," Franck said. "Once we have that, we can start to think about new methods of diagnosis and prevention."

Based on the injury model developed during this project, the researchers aim to deploy a version of their sensor system in combat theaters and playing fields.

"The idea is that when someone experiences a blow to the head, the helmet transmits the force data to a computer," Franck said. "A first responder could then look at that data and determine if TBI is likely and how severe it might be."

Ultimately, the team hopes the data generated by the research can be used to devise a new testing standard for helmets and a new helmet prototype. In developing the prototype, Franck will work closely with Team Wendy and his colleague in the School of Engineering, Haseesh Kesari, who studies the mechanical properties of solid materials.

"What's exciting to me about this is that it spans the microscale to macroscale," Franck said. "We're not aware of any other project that has taken such a comprehensive and tightly integrated approach to understanding how to better prevent these kinds of injuries."

FirstSpear Friday Focus – Non-Stocking Non-Standard Medical Pocket

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Originally developed for a FS professional user the medical pocket is constructed from 500D – approximately 8.5” X 6.5” with a 2.5” loop square and old school MOLLE attachment backer. Elastic daisy chain interior to secure a variety of medical or similar sized items.

Available in Ranger Green and Multicam in the non-stocking non-standard section, while supplies last.

www.first-spear.com

Warrior Expo 2017 – MATBOCK OsteoFX

Friday, July 14th, 2017

MATBOCK is now offering the OsteoFX cast system. It’s FDA approved and reimbursibke through Medicare and Medicaid.

Application is simple, offering a 40% reduction in application time over traditional cast systems. Also, OsteoFX can be used most anywhere, including austere areas. You roll the inner material unto the affected limb, wet the outer material, roll it into place, and you have five minutes to make any adjustments before it begins to harden. The material cures as it air dries, fully cured in 15 min. Even better, you can get it wet, like showering or even swimming and the cast won’t compromise while allowing the skin underneath to dry and breathe.

www.matbock.com