Combat wounds and field hospital surgery: There are just so many opportunities for an injury to become infected. And infection, after a traumatic injury itself, is the leading cause of amputations, according to medical officials.
The more you can eliminate opportunities for infection the better off the patient is going to be.
At the annual Association of the U.S. Army in Washington, a company that manufactures deployable shelters is now displaying a field hospital variant whose interior walls are custom made to kill bacteria.
“Embedded in the interior fabric of the shelter is a solution that is basically antimicrobial. It kills bacteria on contact,” says Marcel Branis, vice president of manufacturing for DHS Technologies in Orangeburg, N.Y.
According to the company’s literature, the bug-killing fabric is called XYTEX 500 and it offers 99.99 percent protection against microbes and other disease-causing microorganisms that come into contact with it. Branis says the solution doesn’t kill microbes in the air within the shelter, nor any that come into contact with anything else in the environment.
But if anything splatters or spills or is rubbed up against the walls, the microbes are going to die.
The company describes the solution as “a formulation of nano size spikes” ingrained into the fabric. When microbes come into contact with the material the spikes puncture their cell walls, killing them.
Branis said the fabric also prevents the growth of algae, fungi and mold.
The shelter is the latest in a line of DRASH shelters made by DHS Technologies. The shelters can be assembled in any number of patterns, or footprints, depending on how users want to deploy them. About six years ago it began marketing a command and control shelter that comes with lightweight projectors and audio-visual systems.
The shelters have been used by military and humanitarian relief organizations around the world, including as relief shelters and medical facilities during earthquake relief in Haiti in 2010 and as headquarters and security centers during the wildfires in California.
-- Bryant Jordan