As people lay badly bleeding in the smoke of the Boston Marathon bombings, rescuers immediately turned to a millennia-old medical device to save their lives — the tourniquet.
Using belts, shirts and other materials, they tied off bleeding limbs in fast-acting bids to prevent major blood loss, shock and death. Such fast work no doubt saved many lives, doctors at Boston area hospitals said.
So it’s interesting to note that if this had happened a decade ago, many emergency responders might have avoided the tourniquet. As recently as the early 2000s, the tourniquet was still enmeshed in a longstanding controversy about whether they were more trouble than they were worth.
When I mentioned the advances in techniques in shock trauma care the other day, this is almost precisely what I meant.