The XSTAT device injects small sponges that enlarge to quickly fill a wound area and stop blood loss.
The XSTAT device injects small sponges that enlarge to quickly fill a wound area and stop blood loss. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

Usually when we talk about technology in war, we're talking about technology designed, essentially, to destroy life. But today we're focusing a new technology designed to protect it.

John Steinbaugh is a former special forces medic for the U.S. army. Now he works at a startup in Oregon called RevMedx . It's made up of scientists and veterans trying to solve an evolving set of problems on the battlefield.

"The battlefield is fluid," Steinbaugh says, "Every rotation you go there it's like a new war. So medics are constantly coming back, updating other medics on what has changed on the battlefield, and one of the standard compaints was wound packing."

Specifically, wound packing to try and stop bleeding after someone has been hit with a bullet. Or shrapnel. These kinds of wounds are deep and narrow. So Steinbaugh and others designed a new piece of tech to help. The XSTAT looks kind of like a syringe filled with little Sweet Tart candies. But they're not candies.

"Picture a sponge that you would buy at the store that, when you run it under water, it grows about 15 times its size," says Steinbaugh, "This idea came from taking the same compressed sponge technology and punching them into a bunch of pellets. Throw them all into one syringe, and when they make contact with fluid or blood, they all expand at the same time, creating a tremendous amount of pressure."

That pressure seals wounds in 15 seconds. And the inventors say it's enough to keep someone alive until they reach a hospital. The XSTAT is also designed to be light and be attached easily to body armor. RevMedx has recieved a $5 million grant from the U.S. Army to develop a finished prototype, and they won a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a version to be used to stop postpartum bleeding.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Ben Johnson at @@TheBrockJohnson