REACT is Medical Winner of 2021 James Dyson Award

REACT, the Medical Winner for the 2021 James Dyson Award, is a device to stem bleeding to help save the lives of stabbing victims. It was invented by Joseph Bentley from Loughborough university.

* This story was first published on Haleness Me.

 The REACT system uses a rapid, inflatable Tamponade device that is inserted into the stab wound. The automated inflation of this Tamponade provides internal pressure direct to the bleeding site, controlling bleeding faster than current methods.

The REACT system uses a rapid, inflatable Tamponade device that is inserted into the stab wound. The automated inflation of this Tamponade provides internal pressure direct to the bleeding site, controlling bleeding faster than current methods.

Knife crime is an issue in many countries around the world.

In England and Wales alone, there were around 46,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, which is the highest number of offences since the year ending March 2011.

The Problem

The average wait time for an ambulance in the UK is currently just over eight minutes, yet it can only take five minutes for someone to bleed to death.

The Solution

The REACT device (which stands for Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade) aims to reduce catastrophic blood loss from a knife wound.

“This type of problem solving invention shows the significant impact engineers can have on serious, global issues, and is why I created the James Dyson Award. Developing a medical device is very challenging and there will be no end of hurdles, but I would urge Joseph not to be put off since the opportunity to save lives is so great. I hope that through winning the Award this invention gets the support it requires as it has the potential to make an impactful change,” said James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson.

The current advice for treating stab wounds is to never remove the knife object from the wound if it is still in place.

This is because the object is applying internal pressure to the wound site whilst also filling the cavity and preventing internal bleeding.

Joseph’s concept is based on the same principle, the implantable medical-grade silicone balloon tamponade would be inserted into the wound tract by a first responder.

The actuator device is connected to the tamponade valve, and the user selects the wound location on the device interface.

Squeezing the trigger on the actuator starts the automated inflation sequence, and the tamponade is inflated to a defined pressure based on the wound location to try and stem the bleeding.

“I am beyond words in describing my gratitude in receiving this global prize dedicated to a medical innovation. Knife crime is horrific and a global challenge that is claiming the lives of thousands every year. The REACT system has the potential to be a life-saving tool in the fight against knife-crime, but the development of medical devices is a long and challenging process. The recognition and funding provided by the James Dyson Award has given me the determination and confidence to develop the REACT system and getting it into the hands of first responders as soon as possible,” said Joseph Bentley, inventor of REACT.

During the early research and development phases, Joseph discovered that current wound management techniques like wound packing are sometimes used by paramedics to prevent bleeding from stab wounds.

This process involves tightly packing a wound with gauze, which will help to apply pressure internally to the site.

According to Joseph, the process can be slow, technical, and extremely painful to the victim, but has in many cases proven to be successful in quickly stopping bleeding from knife wounds.

Despite this, the technique may not be suitable for wounds in cavities like the abdomen, which is the most common area for knife wounds to appear following a knife attack.

During his prototyping, Joseph found that the simple application and automated inflation procedure of the REACT system could be a more effective method for first responders compared to traditional methods.

He claims his prototype Tamponade could potentially be in place and stopping haemorrhage in under a minute, which Joseph estimates could save hundreds of lives a year.

Next Steps

Winning a global James Dyson Award prize will inject a further £30,000 into Joseph’s project.

He aims to commercialise his invention in the coming years, using the Award money for further research and official medical testing into how the REACT invention can become a global solution to knife wounds and hopefully save lives.

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