Graduate’s life-saving device that rapidly stops bleeding from knife wounds wins international Dyson award

A Loughborough graduate who has designed a device to reduce catastrophic blood loss from a knife wound has been announced as one of three global winners of this year’s International James Dyson Award.

REACT (Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade) was created by 22-year-old Joseph Bentley as part of his Product Design and Technology degree.

The current advice for treating stab wounds is to never remove the knife object from the wound if it is still in place. This is because the object is applying internal pressure to the wound site whilst also filling the cavity and preventing internal bleeding.

Joseph’s concept is based on the same principle, the implantable medical-grade silicone balloon tamponade would be inserted into the wound tract by a first responder. The actuator device is connected to the tamponade valve, and the user selects the wound location on the device interface.

Squeezing the trigger on the actuator starts the automated inflation sequence, and the tamponade is inflated to a defined pressure based on the wound location to try and stem the bleeding.

During his prototyping, Joseph found that the simple application and automated inflation procedure of the REACT system could be a more effective method for first responders compared to traditional methods.

Speaking about REACT, James Dyson, the Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson, said:

This type of problem-solving invention shows the significant impact engineers can have on serious, global issues, and is why I created the James Dyson Award.

Developing a medical device is very challenging and there will be no end of hurdles, but I would urge Joseph not to be put off since the opportunity to save lives is so great. I hope that through winning the Award this invention gets the support it requires as it has the potential to make an impactful change.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas König BSc (Hons) MB BS FRCS RAMC Consultant General, Vascular and Trauma Surgeon added:

I’ve been involved in conducting clinical trials for devices and treatments in this space before, and am very interested in Joseph’s concept. Some of the main concerns for us as surgeons with this type of technology are: can you operate around it, can you see through it (during surgery and in discovery imagery), how easy is it to get out, does it break off in bits, can you add saline to it and wash it away. The REACT solution could potentially have an answer to all of these and I gain confidence in the fact that the principle behind it has been done before in uterine balloon tamponades.

Winning a global James Dyson Award prize will inject a further £30,000 into Joseph’s project. He aims to commercialise his invention in the coming years, using the Award money for further research and official medical testing into how the REACT invention can become a global solution to knife wounds and hopefully save lives.

I am beyond words in describing my gratitude in receiving this global prize dedicated to a medical innovation,” Joseph said. “Knife crime is horrific and a global challenge that is claiming the lives of thousands every year. The REACT system has the potential to be a life-saving tool in the fight against knife-crime, but the development of medical devices is a long and challenging process. The recognition and funding provided by the James Dyson Award has given me the determination and confidence to develop the REACT system and getting it into the hands of first responders as soon as possible.