Lifesaving device to stem stab wounds wins UK’s James Dyson Award

Designer inspired to create React tool after friends become victims of knife crime

Tim Wyatt
Wednesday 25 August 2021 01:58
<p>Designer Joseph Bentley demonstrating how to use his React device</p>

Designer Joseph Bentley demonstrating how to use his React device

A 22-year-old who invented a life-saving device to stem blood loss from knife wounds has won the UK round of this year’s James Dyson Awards.

Joseph Bentley claimed the £2,000 prize and entry into the international competition of the annual design awards with a tool which could help police officers responding to stab victims keep them alive until paramedics arrive.

The Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade, or React, works by inflating a medical-grade silicone balloon inside the wound to stop catastrophic blood loss.

Mr Bentley invented the device while studying product design and technology at Loughborough University and was inspired to tackle the problem after two of his friends were victims of knife crime.

“Knife crime is a topic that is personal to me, as two of my friends were victims of knife related incidents," the graduate from Essex said.

"Thankfully both incidents were not fatal, but this is often not the case for so many others.

"Seeing the profound effect that it had on my friends and their families urged me to try and create a solution that could help others in the future."

The James Dyson Award was set up to honour the next generation of design engineers by the celebrated hoover tycoon.

As well as winning £2,000 for claiming the UK prize, Mr Bentley will now be entered into the international round of the competition, potentially netting £30,000 for himself and a further £5,000 for his university.

Traditional methods for managing knife wounds include tightly packing the injury with gauze, which can be painful, slow and technical.

His React device aims to enable non-medically trained police officers to stop bleeding within 60 seconds.

It works in two parts. First, a the emergency responder must insert a medical-grade silicon sleeve or tamponade into the wound tract.

Then a handheld “actuator” about the size of a hairdryer is plugged into the end of the tamponade. The responder selects on the actuator where on the body the injury is, and it then automatically inflates the tamponade to the correct pressure, preventing the internal bleeding which could kill the patient in minutes.

Mr Bentley hopes his invention could save hundreds of lives a year, if it can be got into the hands of police officers first to the scene of a stabbing.

"I was thrilled when I found out I’d won the national James Dyson Award," he said. "This prestigious endorsement confirms that the React concept could have real world benefits and a positive impact on society.

"Although medical device testing takes a long time, I’m looking forward to using the prize money to develop my innovation further and hopefully see the device in the hands of first responders saving lives."

A&E doctor and former Love Island contestant Dr Alex George, said: "Sadly, knife crime is on the rise and we’re seeing more and more incidents of knife related injuries in A&E departments in London and across England and Wales.

"Although more needs to be done in the wider community to tackle knife crime at the source, Joseph’s React concept could be an impressive solution to help first responders, police officers, and medical professionals deal with these types of injuries, should it pass its medical trials.

"Time is of the essence in treating these types of injuries and the React system could help buy some valuable time before full medical treatment can be administered."

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