Shellfish Dressing Anyone

Discussion in 'Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC' started by easesprings, Jun 18, 2007.

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  1. Shimps saves Lives

    Shellfish dressings help save soldiers' lives in Afghanistan

    A special bandage, partly made from crushed shellfish, is helping to save the lives of badly injured troops and civilians in the deserts of southern Afghanistan.

    British troops use the new chitosan bandages on simulated wounds at Camp Bastion field hospital

    The bandages are put directly into combat wounds and become sticky on contact with blood – helping clots develop and rapidly stopping even severe bleeding - a vital medical capability as rapid blood loss is one of the major causes of combat fatalities.

    Carried by many troops as well as medical staff, the easy-to-use bandages - whose active ingredient 'chitosan' is derived from crushed prawn shells - are simply removed by surgeons when their job is done.

    Made by the medical firm HemCon they are one of a number of advanced pieces of medical equipment now being used to save lives at the British Field Hospital in Camp Bastion, Helmand Province – a hospital that is better equipped to deal with severe trauma casualties than many mainstream UK hospitals.

    The latest enhanced equipment includes the first British CT (Computerised Tomography) scanner in Afghanistan, a range of advanced mobile digital X-ray machines and innovations such as new self-applied combat tourniquets and new rapid drug delivery systems that slash the time it takes to put in a 'drip'. Military medics have also been supplied with another lifesaving device - a special mineral that is poured into wounds to aid clotting.

    Trauma specialist Colonel Tim Hodgetts, from the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, currently based at Camp Bastion Field Hospital said:

    Carried by many troops as well as medical staff, the easy-to-use bandages are simply removed by surgeons when their job is done

    "We see a far greater flow of severe trauma patients here than in UK civilian hospitals and it is vital we get it exactly right. The patients here get the very best in terms of both personnel and equipment. I'd say in Bastion we are ahead of the National Health Service in terms of dealing with severe and critical trauma casualties."

    Colonel Hodgetts and his team were recently named Hospital Doctor and Training Team of the Year by Hospital Doctor magazine for their work in spotting gaps in provision and training the forces how to use new kit.

    "We have some very advanced equipment here which is making a substantial difference to the effectiveness of the treatments we give," Col Hodgetts continued.

    "The operational imperative has sensitised the procurement process and greatly reduced the time it takes to procure new equipment meaning we get equipment far faster than we ever used to which is a very positive development. We now have a very sophisticated system in place and that is of great benefit to the patients."

    "These pieces of equipment allow us to treat casualties quicker and more effectively than ever before. They are life saving pieces of kit."
    Chief Petty Officer Sean Rick

    The CT scanner is a special type of X-ray machine which can scan a patient in under a minute to give surgeons a highly detailed image of the patient's injuries - it can also 'stream' digital images and data back to specialists in the UK via satellite link, and reconstruct a 3-Dimensional representation of the patient's bones and internal organs.

    A vital new capability in situations where minutes can make the difference between life and death, Camp Bastion's CT scanner complements a range of new mobile digital X-ray machines that cut the time it takes to produce high quality X-rays by half.

    Radiographer Chief Petty Officer Sean Rick said:

    "These pieces of equipment allow us to treat casualties quicker and more effectively than ever before. They are life saving pieces of kit."
  2. I'd like to think that any CMT, or Nurse involved in Pre hosp care/ED work knows all about Hemcon already. Having used it for real one of the main points to get across is that it (hemcon) only works when its placed directly onto bleeding vessel followed by more direct pressure. Also, only open the packing just before application, if you dont its got a good chance of being ruined due to absorbing moisture in the air.
    It's a good bit of kit, so is Quiklot. They both work differently and depending on the bleed/wound would depend on which one you use. For Quiklot- a wound with no vessel that you can ID. Firstly lots of packing and direct pressure...remove... application of the quiklot (carefully) followed by more packing and pressure.
    Hemcon- Direct pressure and packing, visable bleeding vessel- apply the hemcon . More packing and direct pressure.
    If anyone has been taught differently please either add to this or pm me with the source of their info. If you want to know who I am pm me.
  3. Having been told about the wonders of HemCon and all that, and they new fancy FFD's, it does sound like we might be making some improvements in our First Aid gear.

    How long do you think it will be before troops in the UK actually get to use the stuff? Not a dig, and I know Ops need it first, just want to know. And do UK troops get the new blank yank tourniquet (CAT)?

    T C
  4. also was used in Borneo.....1963 a native Iban remedy!!!!!! as with bamboo shoots for IV (needle) canulation.......
  5. Of course, the Press Release relating to this bandage has been timed to coincide with the release of said piece of equipment......rather than to counter adverse (and justified) criticism of the appalling state of medevac in theatre. Or am I being cynical?
  6. used as dressing, as a paint, and used as a gas when heated!! 1963
  7. The yanks have been using these for a while and HemCon is good but can cause burns, still it's nice to see us catching up with them.
  8. my last comment on this can read about shellfish dressings and other "old potions" in a chinese book translated into English dated about name THE BAREFOOT DOCTOR....
  9. Hemcon isn't the one that gets warm, I believe you are thinking of Quik Clot (the lovely granules/powder as tested on pigs with their femoral arteries and veins cut - great video)
  10. My mistake, you are quite correct :D
  11. As far as I'm aware you'll only get the CATs for Ops or Pre Op Trg. Or if your units "Special"
  12. And the CAT is Israeli rather than from the US. They're still a little like gold dust at the mo. When we did our last Strensall w/e they had some there but were at pains to point out that they'd counted them all out and would be counting them back in again!
  13. Read the heading and got the wrong end of the stick! Having prawns for tea and thought it might go nicely with them....???...!!

    :? :D
  14. Priorities old chap - i'd rather have a blister than a femoral leak
  15. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Oddly enough, the Aussies in Eyerack all have Hemcon (snaffled some myself) but looked most askance at our issuing Morphine to all soldiers, while we were the other way round. Their problems are purely to do with the med aspects of using it, rather than anything else, but just shows that Battlefield First Aid is hardly an exact science!