"Under pressure from Congress, the Army has decided to quickly dispatch modern tourniquets to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," the AP reports. "Thats more than two years after military doctors recommended that every soldier carry one."

012105firstaid.jpgIn an article March 6, The Baltimore Sun described a lack of tourniquets among soldiers in the field and delays in supplying them.Virginia Stephanakis, a spokeswoman for the Army surgeon general, had no immediate details on the number of tourniquets or a timetable by which they will be sent to U.S. troops...A committee of military doctors urged in February 2003 that every soldier carry one of the $20 medical devices, a nylon and plastic version of the simple cloth-and-stick device armies have used to stop bleeding for centuries.But many dont, and some have bled to death from wounds on which a tourniquet might have been effective, according to more than a dozen military doctors and medical specialists interviewed by The Sun.The U.S. Central Command, which oversees combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, issued a directive Jan. 6 requiring all soldiers to carry a modern tourniquet.However, compliance was left up to individual units, and many have not acquired the devices.Three weeks ago, the Armys surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, approved a new first-aid kit for soldiers that includes a modern tourniquet and other life-saving equipment.But the training manual was still being written and the kits were expected to be field tested, a process expected to take months.Now, Stephanakis said that the tourniquets would be sent without waiting for the field testing of the new first-aid kits.
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