After three tours in Afghanistan as a trauma surgeon for the Canadian Navy, Dr. Dennis Filips was inspired -- by a simple hair clip -- to design a medical clamp that can stop traumatic wound bleeding in a matter of seconds.
Now the device, due to hit the market in multiple countries later this year, has earned Filips the top innovator award at last week's Life Science and Health Care Ventures Summit in New York.
The ITClamp will "level the playing field for everybody," Filips recently told the Edmonton Journal. (His firm, Innovative Trauma Care, is based in Edmonton.) "It wouldn't matter if you were a medic or soldier, this idea is just simple, and anyone could self-treat or treat a buddy within seconds of the injury."
Filips' firm reports that its aim is to allow medics, soldiers, and first responders to better treat three of the most preventable causes of trauma deaths: massive bleeding, tension pneumothorax (cardiovascular compromise resulting from a collapsed lung), and airway obstruction (blockage of the upper airway).
While the clamp isn't going to replace the tourniquet anytime soon (certain wounds are so messy and massive that a clamp won't cut it), it could prove useful for smaller, cleaner wounds, as well as in places where tourniquets won't work (think neck, abdomen, groin).
Filips says he envisions his clamp being stocked in both civilian and combat ambulances and hospitals. They could also prove useful to, say, mountaineers. The clamp will come in a sterile container that resembles a mouthguard holder.
Applying pressure evenly across the seal, the clamp could conceivably stay in place for hours until surgery is possible. It won't, of course, stop internal bleeding.
Expected to cost $65, the ITClamp is now in pre-production and being sent to various regulatory offices for review, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.