News and Events

Innovation at Rambam: Saving Lives on the Battlefield

Publication Date: 4/9/2024 9:00 AM

The intense fighting in Gaza in recent months has posed unprecedented challenges to the Israeli healthcare system. However, doctors at Rambam Health Care Campus (Rambam) in Haifa, Israel are developing new technologies to save soldiers injured in combat, including medical treatment that can be administered while under fire.

Professor Benjamin Medalion. Photography: Rambam HCC.
Professor Benjamin Medalion. Photography: Rambam HCC.

The determination of Rambam’s physician-scientists to find practical solutions to real patient needs is saving the lives of wounded soldiers, not only in the hospital setting, but also on the battlefield. By leveraging technological advances, their innovative achievements are going beyond the round-the-clock care they can offer in a hospital setting.

One such technological achievement combines revolutionary technological tools, including artificial intelligence (AI), for evacuation management with Tiger APCs (armored personnel carriers). These APCs are converted into intensive care units that protect the injured soldiers during transport.

Other innovations in providing intensive care under fire are also progressing, including a groundbreaking bandage designed to optimize wound treatment and prevent infection. Professor Benjamin Medalion, attending physician in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam points out: “When there is a wounded person in the field, the medic must perform a number of medical procedures, including cleaning the wound with an antiseptic liquid, drying it, and applying another anti-infection agent; only then can they apply a dressing.” In reality, this means the medic must not only carry a large number of medical supplies, but perform a number of steps throughout the treatment process. “If the skin around the wound is not dry enough, the wound may get infected, and with each of successive treatment step, the risk of infection increases,” he explains.

To solve that problem, he, along with Professor Yitzhak Aharon from the Cardiology Institute at Rambam, and engineer Yaron Shrim have developed a unique bandage for use in the field. Medalion goes on to say, “The medic is working in a tumultuous combat environment where quick and efficient intervention is required, where it is often necessary to treat any number of wounded people simultaneously, all suffering from penetration wounds or burns.”

The innovative bandage is designed to ensure optimal treatment and prevent infections. Medalion explains, “The bandage is actually a sealed sticker already containing disinfectants and treatment to prevent infections. It comes in different sizes, is placed on the wound, and with light pressure, the antiseptic and treatment materials are released into the wound or burn without contact with the air.” The new bandage has many advantages: treatment is fast, efficient, and eliminates the need for multiple preparations and different procedures. He adds, “It is easy and simple to use in the field and its use reduces the risks of developing infections.”

Another breakthrough already in use is a special drill that enables bone infusions, replacing the disposable needles typically used by medical teams in the field. This drill improves the precision of infusion insertion and eliminates the need to restart the procedure if the first attempt fails.

Dr. Oved Cohen, deputy director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam is collaborating with Vigor Medical Technologies on yet another innovation to address one of the most common battlefield injuries, chest injuries, which account for about 20% of such cases. These injuries often lead to fluid accumulation or air leaks in the chest cavity, causing internal pressure that can collapse the lung and heart. Cohen explains the urgent need for rapid drainage within the first hour of injury to save lives. To that end, a cylinder-like device, developed by Vigor Medical Technologies, has been equipped with technology to efficiently penetrate and drain the affected area without endangering vital organs or arteries. Once available on the market, the device will empower paramedics and combat medics to swiftly and effectively treat these critical wounds on the battlefield.

Photo of the lung drainage devie

Lung drainage device being developed by Vigor Medical Technologies, Ltd.
Photo courtesy of Vigor Medical Technologies, Ltd.

The achievements of the physician-scientists at Rambam are part of a broader trend worldwide to use innovative technologies to save lives on the battlefield. Beyond that, they honor the teachings of Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, for whom Rambam is named: “One who saves a life is as if he had saved a whole world.”

Based on an article published in Hebrew to Walla Health.