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Digital Finger Clip Could 'Revolutionize' Battlefield Triage

CRI-Army-600x400The Army is looking at a device the size of a matchbook with a computer display that would immediately provide a wounded soldier's vital signs on the battlefield.

Army doctors say it could "revolutionize triage" because the immediate vital signs such as body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure would allow doctors to figure out who was at the most risk.

Called the Compensatory Reserve Index, or CRI, device, the plastic clip the size of a matchbook connects to a soliders finger. It then feeds the vital signs directly to a digital tablet the size of a standard iPad. The tablet can display more than one solider's vital signs allowing a medic or doctor to more easily make decisions on who to treat first.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials are currently testing the device and then Army medical leaders will decide whether to field it. Army officials showed support for it by displaying it on Friday at the Pentagon's first ever Lab Day.

The CRI is also designed to sustain battlefield conditions and harsh weather.

Israeli soldiers are already using the device. U.S. Army officials have seen the number of lives it has saved already, said Lt. Col. Robert Carter, task area manager for Tactical Combat Casualty Care Research at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

Army scientists could also use the device utilizing special software to predict if a patient is going into shock. Researchers at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado and Flashback Technologies, Inc. developed the software using the vital signs and are testing it now.

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