Healthy Choices

Tourniquets regain favor from lessons learned at 2013 Boston Marathon bombings

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.