Device to rapidly treat stab wounds wins UK James Dyson Award

© Loughborough University

An innovative medical device to stem bleeding from stab wounds has been awarded the James Dyson Award 2021 for the UK.

The REACT device was created by recent graduate Joseph Bentley whilst he was still a student at Loughborough University. REACT can rapidly stop blood loss from a knife wound and is designed for use as a first response until an ambulance arrives.

REACT, which stands for ‘rapid emergency actuated tamponade’, is based on the principle of applying internal pressure, which is key in managing stab wounds. The device is comprised of two parts: a medical-grade silicone sleeve, known as a ‘tamponade’, and a handheld device called an ‘actuator’.

How it works

Although impaled objects should never be removed from stab wounds as they apply internal pressure, the REACT device provides a solution if the wound is open. In this case, emergency responders, such as police, would be required to insert the tamponade into the wound. They would then connect the actuator to the tamponade via a valve and select on the device the area of the body where the wound is located. The actuator would then inflate to a defined pressure based on the wound location, preventing internal bleeding.

“Game changer for first responders”

Joseph, who studied Product Design and Technology, was motivated to make the device after witnessing the effects of knife crime.

Joseph explained: “I know several friends who have been the unfortunate victims of knife crime, thankfully none of the incidents were fatal.

“I am haunted almost daily by news of someone who has lost their lives because of knife crime. It’s horrifying.

“The simple application and automated inflation procedure of the REACT system makes it a game-changer for first responders.

“The tamponade can be in place and stopping a haemorrhage in under a minute, saving hundreds of lives a year and, as the tamponade is suitable for large cavities like the abdomen, it is also easier and faster to remove than current methods used to stop bleeding, giving the patient the best chance in reconstructive surgery.”

Joseph has created a 3D-printed semi-functional prototype, with working side and rear user interface, side LEDs, and actuator. The prototype is currently targeted at junctional wounds (such as those in the armpit and groin areas) and the abdomen – a location paramedics and emergency first aid professionals told Joseph is hard to treat during his project research.

Joseph is now looking to further develop REACT – extending it to other wound locations on the body, making it internally battery powered, and perfecting the required air pressure in the tamponade.

The James Dyson Award 2021

The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. As part of winning the national arm of the competition, Joseph will receive a £2,000 funding injection for REACT, which will go towards further research and official medical testing. Joseph said he aims to commercialise the invention in the next few years and is currently working on securing a patent.

The REACT device will now go onto the international stages of the design competition, where it will be judged alongside the national winners of other countries. The overall winner, and recipient of £30,000, will be announced in November.

Joseph added: “Medical device development takes a long time, but hopefully in a few years the REACT system will be used to control the bleeding in victims of knife crime and save lives.

“I’m hoping one day it will be carried by all emergency services – police, ambulance staff, even the military – but the absolute goal is to get this product in use as soon as possible.”


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