Reinventing 3D printed tourniquets for Ukraine is a mistake

  1. To cease production and distribution of tourniquet designs with known design and production mistakes like those below immediately until these errors are corrected.
  2. To cease production and distribution of novel tourniquet designs in Ukraine until they are carefully tested in non-battlefield conditions.

Why Gazans are experts at 3D printed tourniquets

A lack of deep contextual knowledge

Making the same mistakes

Engineering and printing decisions do not trump safety and usage considerations: Cylindrical windlasses

Left to right: Glia’s Gaza Tourniquet; Tacmed SOF Tactical Tourniquet; North American Rescue’s C-A-T
Left: First Glia Gaza windlass, February 27, 2017; Right: Sample windlass design (March 13, 2022)
  1. The diameter of the windlass is not constant depending on rotation, meaning that the design has to either accommodate the biggest diameter or the smallest diameter. The more facets, the closer those numbers are. With equilaterals, this difference is most dramatic in a triangle (Δr = a√3/2 – a), and least dramatic in a cylinder (Δr = 0). A square shape like above is the second-largest difference (Δr = √(2a²) – a). Clinically, we found that the subtle problems caused by these design choices mean that time for application and securing of tourniquet is increased by several seconds (target application time = 20 seconds).
  2. The lack of grooves at all parts of the windlass makes it less likely to stay in place during operation. Some designs have no grooves at all. During some small field tests, this resulted in clipping failures, and was largely remedied by ensuring grooves at all contact points.

Duplicating the CAT duplicates its shortcomings

Top left: Original Glia Gaza design, February 27, 2017. Top right: Sample de novo design (March 13, 2022); Bottom: Current Glia Gaza design

PLA is the wrong material; PETG is probably OK; ABS should be used

Most makers do not have experience with how tourniquets works

Video sent by maker presumably criticizing pliability of Glia’s Gaza tourniquet backing plate

Safety first; Speed second

How you can help

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Tarek is an emergency physician at London Health Sciences Centre (Canada) and Shifa Hospital (Gaza). He is a member of the Glia team making open medical devices

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Tarek Loubani

Tarek Loubani

Tarek is an emergency physician at London Health Sciences Centre (Canada) and Shifa Hospital (Gaza). He is a member of the Glia team making open medical devices

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