Part 1: Trauma response and splinting items
As part of a medical kit there are a number of equipment items to manage trauma injuries of breaks, fractures and strains. Here is a rundown of standard items that you should be familiar with.
The SAM (structural aluminium) malleable splint is a compact, lightweight, highly versatile device designed for immobilizing bone and soft tissue injuries in emergency settings. It consists of a layer of soft aluminium, with a polyethylene closed-cell foam coating. There are also smaller finger splint versions.
Vacuum splints are primarily used as a stabilisation and splinting device for various limb injuries. Appropriate levels of splinting are achieved by the correct sizing of the splint, sculpting of the splint to the patient’s limb and removal of excess air from the device.
Versatile and simple to use inflatable are used to immobilize arm and leg fractures, with uniform pressure on the limb and to guarantee stability and comfort for the patient. The pressure in the air chamber can be controlled by inflating or deflating air, through a valve. An inflatable splint cannot be used with an open fracture since the pressure from the splint would force the bone back.
The difference between inflatable splints and vacuum splints: Vacuum splints are radiolucent and do not apply external pressure to the injured extremity. Inflatable splints are soft splints that become rigid when inflated.
Kendrick traction leg splint
The purpose of traction & splinting is to reduce blood loss, pain and tissue damage. The Kendrick Traction Device (KTD) is relatively simple to apply as long as you are familiar with the various parts. Traction splints should not be used in either proximal or distal femur fractures due to the propensity of the device to cause movement of the hip or knee, which could increase the risk of complications. It can also be used in patients with pelvic fractures.
A KED is used in conjunction with a cervical collar to help immobilize a patient’s head, neck and spine in the normal anatomical (neutral) position. Ideal for confined and narrow space extraction.
A pelvic binder is a device used to compress a pelvic fracture to stop bleeding. If the patient is haemodynamically compromised with a significant mechanism suggestive of a pelvic injury, a pelvic binder should be applied. Applying a pelvic binder early provides stability and allows clot formation. This may prevent ongoing haemorrhage and the often-lethal impaired clot formation.
Semi-adjustable neck collar
For stabilisation of the neck with a suspected back or neck injury.
Nick Stael von Holstein – Medical Support Offshore