A 22-year-old has won this year’s UK James Dyson Award for designing a potentially life-saving device to help stem bleeding from knife wounds.
Stab victims can bleed to death in just five minutes, so the priority for emergency personnel is to stop excessive blood loss.
Paramedics have wound pack kits that they use to treat stab victims but police are usually first on the scene and do not currently have the rapid and accessible tools required to prevent catastrophic blood loss, according to research by device maker Joseph Bentley.
His React device, which stands for Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade, aims to help police treat knife wounds while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.
“Knife crime is a topic that is personal to me, as two of my friends were victims of knife-related incidents,” the product design graduate from Essex said.
“Thankfully both incidents were not fatal, but this is often not the case for so many others.
“Seeing the profound effect that it had on my friends and their families urged me to try and create a solution that could help others in the future.”
The tool inflates an implantable medical-grade silicone balloon tamponade into the wound tract, effectively filling the cavity and preventing internal bleeding.
Bentley said current wound management techniques, such as tightly packing with gauze, can be slow, technical, and extremely painful for the victim.
He claims that his prototype could potentially be in place and stop haemorrhage in under a minute, and estimates it could save hundreds of lives a year.
A&E doctor and former Love Island contestant Dr Alex George, said: “Sadly, knife crime is on the rise and we’re seeing more and more incidents of knife-related injuries in A&E departments in London and across England and Wales.
“Although more needs to be done in the wider community to tackle knife crime at the source, Joseph’s React concept could be an impressive solution to help first responders, police officers, and medical professionals deal with these types of injuries, should it pass its medical trials.
“Time is of the essence in treating these types of injuries and the React system could help buy some valuable time before full medical treatment can be administered.”
The 22-year-old wins £2000 towards developing his concept as part of the national prize and will progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award 2021.
“I was thrilled when I found out I’d won the national James Dyson Award,” Bentley added.
“This prestigious endorsement confirms that the React concept could have real-world benefits and a positive impact on society.
“Although medical device testing takes a long time, I’m looking forward to using the prize money to develop my innovation further and hopefully see the device in the hands of first responders saving lives.”