Technology makes its way to bandages. Injectable sponges, coagulants that stop bleeding in a minute and life saving foams are just a few of the ways trauma centers are looking for like Star Wars than the Civil War.
When the United States went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, the gauze that was used to stanch the bleeding of wounded soldiers was so primitive, it could have come out of a Civil War medic’s kit. Uncontrolled bleeding is still a leading cause of combat death (it also kills thousands of American civilians every year), but bandages and other devices now in development could change that.
In collaboration with civilian scientists, the Army has in recent years begun seeking new ways to prevent blood loss in the immediate aftermath of an injury. As a result, soldiers and medics now carry bandages coated with clotting agents, and new, tourniquet-like devices have been developed for the groin, armpit, and abdomen (traditional tourniquets work only on extremities). A team at MIT is developing a bandage that, by exploiting a natural coagulant, promises to stop bleeding in less than a minute, and a company in nearby Boston is developing a foam that would fill a person’s entire abdominal cavity, providing enough pressure to control internal bleeding.