A specially designed needle to stop oxygen escaping from the lungs during a chest injury; a sponge to control bleeding; and an extract from flowers to heal burns — these are a few products that will soon be tested at the AIIMS Trauma Centre under the “combat casualty” banner.
One of the apex referral centres for treatment of armed forces with life-threatening injuries sustained during conflict, the Jai Prakash Narayan Apex (JPNA) Trauma Centre at AIIMS will soon be collaborating with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on “capacity building of combat casualty”.
Senior AIIMS officials told The Indian Express that over a dozen initiatives will be taken up by the trauma centre and the DRDO to conduct research in the field of combat casualty. “An MoU is being prepared. We will finalise the details soon. We have already identified the team of doctors which will be coordinating with the DRDO,” Dr Rajesh Malhotra, chief, JPNA Trauma Centre, said.
He added, “Products will be developed under the combat casualty banner. These will encompass all injuries that you see — not just during armed conflict but also civilian unrest. We will not just undertake capacity-building but conduct research in the field of combat casualty, focusing on reducing disability.”
Combat casualty care is the treatment of wounded combatants and non-combatants in or near an area of combat. The field has made advances in the US after specialised procedures and products were developed to treat wounds sustained during conflict. Sources said a contingent from the US mission shared their experience during the process of finalising the collaboration.
Dr Malhotra said 15 doctors from the trauma centre and 15 scientists from DRDO will be working on the project. “A major emphasis will be on wound management and haemostasis. We also plan to develop an agent to stop bleeding and that will help in the treatment of burns… We will also conduct advanced MRI-based studies on how to recover from head injuries,” he said.
“To prevent air escaping from the lungs, in case of a chest injury, the DRDO is working on a needle where the lung is filled up by air. Once the the MoU is finalised, AIIMS doctors will suggest ways to test the efficacy of the needle. Similarly, in burns cases, the damaged skin gets stuck to the underlying area and cannot be operated upon… The herbs are being prepared to avoid surgery in such cases,” Dr Malhotra added officials said ethical clearance will be taken from AIIMS to develop low-cost indigenous products.
“An anaesthesiologist will coordinate on research of chest injuries and a plastic surgeon will work on burn injuries and test herbal products,” an official said.