Maybe bleeding to death is the last thing you think about in the morning as you pull on your pants, but it could happen.
That's why a Norfolk, VA based manufacturer of military and law enforcement equipment has developed a uniform with built-in tourniquets, which it says will save lives on the battlefield.
The Warrior Wear Integrated Tourniquet System by Blackhawk Products Group has eight tourniquets; four in the pants and four in the shirt (two in the short sleeve version), which may, in case of injury, be constricted immediately with one hand by the wearer, their buddy or a medic.
Military medics are leery of an over-reliance on tourniquets, because although they save lives in battle, many soldiers later require amputation. In 2002 the FDA approved a bandage developed from chitin, a natural polymer found in shrimp shells that could stanch bleeding at up to 300 milliliters per 30 seconds that was supposed to render the tourniquet obsolete. It was even safe for soldiers allergic to shrimp, but apparently it has yet to pan out.
Quick deployment of a tourniquet minimizes blood loss, the single cause of death from injuries sustained to the extremities among troops, according to studies.
"Sixty percent of preventable combat deaths are from extremity bleeding and 50-70% of all combat injuries are extremity wounds," explained Dr. Keith Rose who worked with Blackhawk R&D to develop the product. "The fact that you can always find the tourniquet with the Integrated Tourniquet system and the speed with which you can immediately apply it will dramatically impact not only loss of life but also the amount of time that it takes to recover from extreme blood loss injuries."
The uniform is designed to allow soldiers to train with the system over and over rather than having to replace each tourniquet after a single use. Priced around $200, machine washable.