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Doctor's Bag: Tourniquet


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The classic Tourniquet (TOOR-nee-kay) is a belt, cord, or other material which, when tightened, serves to restrict blood flow, generally to a limb or extremity. The purpose of the Tourniquet is to prevent exsanguination (loss of blood).

The high-tech version of this same product look a little bit like a garter belt. In combat armour or battle dress, it is likely these are fitted just above the ankles, just under the knee, mid-thigh, upper arm, just below the elbow, and above the wrist. Not much point in putting on on the neck....

They bear a relationship to the self-sealing rings used in vacc suits (a very close one actually). Both of these are actually rings of a contractile synthetic material (a composite, with a somewhat plastic-like feel to it). They are actuated by small sensors contained within the rings (in the one case, detecting the drop in pressure inside the leg or arm of the vacc suit, in the other case detecting the drop in blood pressure). They then tighten and constrict blood or air flow, as appropriate.

The early versions just tighten and stay tight, being releasable by a particular manual manipulation of the ring (a particular combination of twist and pressure at the right points). The more advanced versions, at least of the medical Tourniquet, will release slightly every few minutes. This is necessary to permit minimal blood flow so as to prevent tissue and nerve death. The most advanced ones also have the ability to make a choice as to when further bleading will kill the patient, and will accept the loss of the nerves or tissues in the extremity in favour of keeping the patient alive.

The medical Tourniquet first become available one tech level after the introduction of the self-sealing vacc suit. The intelligent Tourniquet first becomes available at TL-12, with increased sophistication and decision making capability each level thereafter.

Any higher technology medical kit expected to treat any form of trauma wounds will contain several of these. Most combat soldiers wear them fitted under their CES or Combat Armour.

I have yet to work out the details of cost and weight, but the weight is definitely negligible at any rate.

When I have sorted out the task profiles for this, I will post them. (I'm an MT player, so you'll have to convert to T20 or GURPS or whatever). They will probably take the form

To prevent further damage from exsanguination (blood loss) with a tourniquet, Routine, (TL-9), 1 combat round (absolute), Fateful. The task is listed as fateful because failing it means you will continue to bleed (not a mishap roll). The modifier is the TL of the Tourniquet minus 9 (no negative numbers).