The Montgomery County Hospital District has a new product on ambulances that has saved many lives in combat and promises to do the same for civilians.
According to Mark Escott, Deputy Heath Authority for Montgomery County, “Quik Clot Combat Gauze” has been in development for years by the military.
“(Military forces use it) to address situations as was featured in the movie Black Hawk Down where a soldier had a junctional wound, or a growing wound that couldn’t be treated,” Escott said. “There’s not really an effective treatment for that right now. Generally speaking, if the wound is lower down, you can use things like tourniquets, but when it’s in one of those junctional areas it’s very difficult to manage the hemorrhage.”
The product has been proven in military situations many times over and has already been used six times in Montgomery County. One of those cases was recently when a Porter man who was cutting a tree and had part of it fall and crush part of his leg in the fork of the tree. Medics were forced to remove part of the leg while twenty-feet in the air. In that case tourniquets and Quick Clot proved to be a lifesaver.
“In all six cases, it’s turned out very well for the patient,” Escott said. “I’m confident several would have died without this technology.”
Quik Clot Combat Gauze contains a clay based substance that, when placed on the wound, causes clotting and can “clot off” major arteries, he said. “As far as we know, we were the first in the country to distribute this product to all of our ambulances and we’re working on getting it for first responders.”
While it is expensive compared to traditional gauze, Escott says it is worth the cost because in some cases there is no substitute for it.
He said in situation such as severed limbs, a patient can have a complete blood loss and die, but that does not have to happen with tourniquets and Quik Clot available.
“In the civilian world, we’re still looking at studies to show its effectiveness versus traditional gauze management,” Escott said. “It’s been very effective particularly when patients have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinners.”