Emergency Bandage

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An Israeli Bandage being applied

The Emergency Bandage or Israeli bandage is a specially designed, first-aid device that is used to stop bleeding from hemorrhagic wounds caused by traumatic injuries in pre-hospital emergency situations.[1][2] First used for saving lives during a NATO peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the bandage was successfully used during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.[1][2] The bandage was nicknamed "Israeli bandage" by American soldiers,[3] and has been "the bandage of choice for the US Army and special forces."[2] The Israeli Bandage was included in the first aid kits of emergency personnel and first responders at the 2011 Tucson shooting, and was used to treat some victims of the shooting.[1][4]

The bandage was invented by an Israeli military medic, Bernard Bar-Natan.[5]


For years, one of the most preventable causes of death in non-fatally wounded people has been the inability to quickly and effectively stop bleeding.[3] Military doctors Nolan Shipman and Charles S. Lessard write in Military Medicine journal that "[t]he first step in containing seriously wounded casualties is to control the hemorrhage as much as possible."[2] In the era preceding Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), US military medics would take wounded soldiers from battlefields to hospitals for treatment. This often resulted in prolonged and irreversible loss of blood. Today, the tactic of caring for wounded soldiers has changed and the wounds are treated in the battlefield. The Israeli Bandage, which can be applied with only one hand, successfully stops bleeding and has been used by the armies of the United States, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.[3] David Kleinman, a SWAT team medic who devised a first aid kit used to treat victims of the 2011 Tucson shooting, said that "deputies reached for the Emergency Bandage 'over and over at the scene'" of the shooting.[4]

History of development[edit]

When the bandage's inventor, Bernard Bar-Natan, was in training to become a military medic in 1984, he noticed that the bandages issued for bleeding control had a manufacture date of 1942 or sometimes even 1938. He also noticed that more current styles had the same design and the same features as 1942 bandages.[1][6] The trainees were advised to grab a stone and to use it to apply pressure to a wound that would not clot on its own. Bar-Natan started work on a new generation of bandages that would not rely on the "grab a stone" approach, but would have a pressure bar built into the bandages themselves.[1]

In 1990–1991, the idea and the design were developed enough to apply for Government support from the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry. The application allowed Bar-Natan to become a part of a technology incubator program in Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim, with a government grant covering 3/4 of the expenses connected to the research and development of the bandage.[1] After three additional years of development the bandage was ready for commercialization. [1] However, Bar-Natan formed First Care Products Ltd and supervised the design and production of the bandage.

A Belgian medical equipment distributor bought the first bandages in 1998.[1] Bar-Natan, having grown the company to a profitable entity, later sold it to PerSys Medical in Houston, Texas, the company that first introduced the bandage to the US military. Today 1.5 to 2 million bandages are produced and sold each year.[1]


Application of The Emergency Bandage

The Emergency Bandage is an elasticized bandage with a non-adhesive bandage pad sewn in. The bandage has a built-in pressure bar, which allows the soldier to twist the bandage around the wound once, and then change the direction of the bandage, wrapping it around the limb or body part, to create pressure on the wound. Aside from this, the pressure bar also makes bandaging easier. A closure bar at the end of the bandage means that it clips neatly into place and will not slip.[3]

6 inch Emergency Bandage in ukrainian volunteers' military first aid kit.

The bandages come in three different sizes: 4, 6, and 8 inches wide.[2] They are similar to elastic bandages that are used to treat sprain injuries, but they have three unique features:

  1. the sterile non-adherent dressing that is designed to allow removing the bandage without reopening a wound.[2]
  2. the pressure applicator or the pressure bar that is placed directly over the wound to stop the bleeding by applying pressure.[2] It facilitates wrapping in various directions. This is a useful feature for stopping bleeding in groin and head injuries.[3]
  3. the closure bar that is used to secure the bandage and to apply additional pressure to a wound. The closure bar can be used by a "simple sliding motion with one hand."[2]

Military doctors Nolan Shipman and Charles S Lessard write in Military Medicine journal that "The emergency bandage's sterile, nonadherent pad applies pressure to any site, can be easily wrapped and secured, and has an additional application, similar to a tourniquet, to further constrict blood flow".[2]

Aside from the styles of The Emergency Bandage that are currently fielded by militaries, newer versions such as the T3 Emergency Bandage and the 9T Emergency Bandage include features such as gauze for additional wrapping, extra pads, abdominal pads to cover eviscerations, and moisture seals to cover wounds and burns.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i David Horowitz (2011-04-29). "Editor's Notes: The guy with the bandage". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nolan Shipman; Charles S Lessard (January 2009). "Pressure Applied by the Emergency/Israeli Bandage" (PDF). Military Medicine. pp. 86–92(7). Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Nicky Blackburn (January 9, 2005). "Israeli innovative bandages saving American lives in Iraq". israel21c. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Sandhya Somashekhar; Sari Horwitz (2011-01-21). "First-aid kits credited with saving lives in Tucson shooting". Washington Post. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  5. ^ "Editor's Notes: The guy with the bandage".
  6. ^ Ron Kampeas (February 17, 2011). "'Israeli bandage' may have saved Giffords' life after shooting". j. Retrieved April 4, 2011.