Innovation for battlefield wounded could save civilian lives - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Innovation for battlefield wounded could save civilian lives

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

For more than a decade, those who wageAmerica's wars have been targeted with bullets and explosive blasts.

Many have found their mark.

For those hit in places like Kandahar andFallujah- surviving the once "unsurvivable" is an outcome made moreprobable by work emerging from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research inSan Antonio.

"It's the people that are doingstuff in the field that are saving people's lives," said Dr. John Kragh, aresearch orthopedist at the I.S.R.

It's Dr. Kragh's job to give combat caregivers tools to contend with the catastrophic - wounds so massive a casualtycan quickly become a fatality by bleeding to death.

"The soldiers are saying when thewounded are doing this big bleeding they need a 'Croc, a rock or a doc' andthere is some genius in that saying," said Kragh.

The "Croc" to which Kragh isreferring is a portable clamp designed to stop blood flow from major arteriesnear the hip, neck, groin or shoulder - places where traditional tourniquetsjust don't work.

It is a much needed response to thekind of massive, limb shredding injuries commonly inflicted by improvisedexplosive devices.

"You can use a lot of blood in ahurry," explains Kragh.

At just a pound and a half it takes a Medicabout a minute to assemble, position and begin applying pressure.

"Once you got it targeted you just screwit until its tight," said Kragh of the device which would look at home ina carpentry shop.

The hard plastic contact point can bepositioned either directly on the wound or the area Kragh calls "justupstream" pinching off blood flow from the artery.

 "It's not rocket science. When yougot a gusher and then you don't got a gusher, you put it in the rightspot," said Kragh.

Once in place, the "Croc" frees thehands of medics or corpsmen to perform other procedures 

 The innovation, formally known as the"junctional tourniquet", has already preserved life in the war zoneand is likely do the same when made widely available to civilian firstresponders.

The irony is an old one - the business oftaking lives inspiring technology which preserves them.

 "A lot of the developments intrauma care particularly come from things like war and this is an excellentexample of making progress in a hurry when a nation is pressed," saidKragh.

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