New Battlefield Technology Seals Gunshot Wounds in 15 Seconds

Matt Vespa
By Matt Vespa | February 5, 2014 | 6:18 PM EST

Our troops may benefit greatly from this new device in battlefield technology that stops the bleeding from gunshot wounds in 15 seconds.  It'll be a less grisly way of treating such wounds, which now involves stuffing the puncture - at time five inches deep - with gauze.  If the bleeding doesn't stop within three minutes after the application of direct pressure, the medic must start all over again.  This involves pulling out all of the packed gauze, which is incredibly painful. In fact, the pain is so immense that, "you take the guy's gun away first," says former U.S. Army Special Operations medic John Steinbaugh.

Steinbaugh, now retired, is part of the team that came up with this new technology at RevMedx, an Oregon-based company comprised of veterans, scientists, and engineers working on preventing deaths via hemorrhaging.

According to Popular Science, Steinbaugh's team experimented with various sponges:

The final material would need to be sterile, biocompatible, and fast-expanding. The team settled on a sponge made from wood pulp and coated with chitosan, a blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance that comes from shrimp shells. To ensure that no sponges would be left inside the body accidentally, they added X-shaped markers that make each sponge visible on an x-ray image.

"By the time you put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already stopped."

The sponges work fast: In just 15 seconds, they expand to fill the entire wound cavity, creating enough pressure to stop heavy bleeding. And because the sponges cling to moist surfaces, they aren't pushed back out of the body by gushing blood. "By the time you even put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already stopped," Steinbaugh says.

Getting the sponges into a wound, however, proved to be tricky. On the battlefield, medics must carry all their gear with them, along with heavy body armor. RevMedx needed a lightweight, compact way to get the sponges deep into an injury. The team worked with Portland-based design firm Ziba to create a 30 millimeter-diameter, polycarbonate syringe that stores with the handle inside to save space. To use the applicator, a medic pulls out the handle, inserts the cylinder into the wound, and then pushes the plunger back down to inject the sponges as close to the artery as possible.

Yet, this new development wasn't celebrated by all.  Shannon Watts of the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense ( No clue what that means) In America tweeted yesterday "For the battlefield or our schools? "Simple New Invention Seals A Gunshot Wound In 15 Seconds" #momsdemand #gunsense."

It almost makes you wonder if these people enjoy the carnage.  After all, it's the only thing keeping them relevant.

Nevertheless, it's an accomplishment in American engineering.