Healthy Choices

News and inspiration for healthy living in Northern California

Tourniquets regain favor from lessons learned at 2013 Boston Marathon bombings

04/17/2014 3:06 PM

04/18/2014 12:24 AM

Researchers are starting to dig deep into mounds of data from emergency medical care in the wake of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings.

One surprising finding was how effective rapidly fashioned tourniquets were in preventing more loss of blood – and lives.

For decades now, the common wisdom has been that tourniquets are out of favor. Incorrectly applied, they can prevent blood flow needed to maintain healthy tissues.

But studies of treatment of war wounds from Iraq, where the majority of injuries occurred from explosions, showed the value of using tourniquets, researchers say.

And, in Boston, as medical personnel and bystanders rushed to tend to the wounded, tourniquets – fashioned out of belts, t-shirts and other common materials – did far more good than harm.

This is the conclusion made by a cornsortium of Boston’s five trauma centers that have been studying the emergency medical response to the bombings and how to improve on-site emergency care.

Read more about it here, in Tinker Ready’s article for HealthLeaders Media. Watch a how-to video on tourniquets here.

About This Blog

Sacramento Bee reporter Sammy Caiola writes about community health issues in the Sacramento region. Her work is in conjunction with the California Endowment, a non-profit health foundation created in 1996.

Sammy Caiola joined The Sacramento Bee as a health reporter in 2014. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where she was a Top 10 finisher in the William Randolph Hearst College Journalism Awards. Reach her at or 916-321-1636. Twitter: @SammyCaiola.


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