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VOL. 128 | NO. 186 | Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hospital Wing First to Use iTClamp

By Michael Waddell

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Memphis-based air medical transport service Hospital Wing is the first aero-medical service in the country to use the new iTClamp hemorrhage control system, following its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer.

Memphis-based Hospital Wing is the first aero-medical service in the country to use the new iTClamp hemorrhage control system.

The service, operated by Memphis Medical Center Air Ambulance Service Inc., began using the revolutionary clamp near the end of August.

“We used the iTClamp a few hours after it was put on the aircraft on the first day,” said Jason Clark, Hospital Wing director of education and business development, who handles new products and the necessary training and implementation. “We are carrying them at all of our bases, and each aircraft has at least two devices because, depending on the size of the wound, you could have to use two or even more.”

The decision is already producing positive results, as it was used for the first time in the U.S. on a 64-year-old man near Olive Branch who was trimming a tree and suffered a chainsaw accident, leaving a 7-inch-long, 1-inch-deep wound that was bleeding uncontrollably.

Hospital Wing flight crew members Jan Weatherred and Jennifer Miller applied the iTClamp to the wound before the man was lifted to The Regional Medical Center of Memphis for trauma operating room services.

“Previously we did not have a way to do wound closure. A lot of the techniques for hemorrhage control involve applying direct pressure, which may or may not work, as well as applying tourniquets,” said Clark. “With the iTClamp, if we can close the wound, it continues to bleed below the skin until it fills up the wound pocket and develops a clot, which stops the bleeding.”

Clark explained that with the iTClamp the extremities still get blood flow, unlike with a tourniquet, and he expects to see much better patient outcomes.

Use of the clamp is expected to likely make a huge impact, as 60 percent of Hospital Wing’s flights are trauma-related, and emergency scene flights account for approximately 35 percent of transports.

“For us, it’s a very quick, easy to use, and effective way to get a hemorrhage under control,” said Dr. Joe Holley, a Hospital Wing medical director and also the medical director for the Memphis Fire Department.

The department is expected to become the first fire and EMS service in the country to use the iTClamp.

The iTClamp was developed by Innovative Trauma Care and CEO Dr. Dennis Filips in San Antonio, and training for its use locally takes place at the Medical Education Research Institute.

“We had the chance to work with the developer on preliminary testing, and it was a natural progression for us to put the device in use as soon as the FDA gave its blessing,” Holley said. “It’s a completely new area of thought and function. There really has not been anything else like it on the market.”

Hospital Wing offers inter-hospital helicopter transfers and emergency scene calls for a monthly average of more than 200 critically ill and injured patients within a 150-mile radius of Memphis, including West Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama and Kentucky.

Last year the company completed a $1.2 million renovation and expansion of its headquarters near Downtown Memphis, and the service now flies out of five locations: Memphis, Brownsville and Selmer, Tenn., Oxford, Miss., and Jonesboro, Ark. Jonesboro, the newest base, opened April 1.

“We are doing more business than we’ve ever done, and we are growing our business model accordingly,” said Clark, who pointed out that Hospital Wing also just received the first of its larger aircraft, American Eurocopter EC130s, that will be implemented at all of its bases in the coming months. “The larger aircraft will allow us to have more patient access while in flight.”

The service is affiliated with The Elvis Presley Trauma Center at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis, Baptist Health Systems, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Saint Francis Hospital and Crittenden Regional Hospital.

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