There comes a time in every man's life when he must face a chainsaw. Unfortunately, the chainsaw sometimes wins.
Thus the story unfolded on a recent summer's day near Olive Branch, Miss., when a 64-year-old man out tree trimming caught his shirtsleeve in a saw, which proceeded to take a 7-inch-long bite out of his left arm. Fortunately for the man, the flight crew that arrived on the scene was coming from a nearby hospital that had that very day adopted a new device to control severe bleeding, and its successful use on the man's arm not only saved his life but marked the first time it's been used in the US since it was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this summer.
The iTClamp, which we wrote about back in early 2012 when it received a top innovator award, controls bleeding by sealing the edges of a wound shut to temporarily create a pool of blood under pressure and thereby form a clot that helps reduce more blood loss until surgery.
And so it worked for the chainsaw victim, for whom a tourniquet was deemed inappropriate. By applying the hair clip-like clamp to the wound, the hospital air workers were able to stop the bleeding and stabilize the patient within minutes, at which point they transported him to the Regional Medical Center of Memphis, where surgeons sutured him up and released him from the hospital in 8 hours.
"The iTClamp provided a quick and easy solution to an otherwise potentially life threatening injury," flight crew RN Jan Weatherred said in a news release.
For iTClamp inventor Dennis Filips, who served three tours in Afghanistan as a trauma surgeon for the Canadian Navy, seeing what began as a mere idea save a life the day it came into use was a dream come true: "To have our first human use in the US turn out so well is thrilling, and we look forward to getting the iTClamp into the hands of first responders across the country and around the world."
The clamp is currently being sold for around $100 via various distributors across the US, and it's available in Canada and Europe as well. At that price it could very well end up being adopted not only by first responders, but climbers and other adventurers looking to beef up their first-aid kits -- and maybe the cautious chainsaw wielders among us as well.