(photo credit: courtesy)
It is the size of a mobile phone and can fit in your pocket. But instead of
being used to make phone calls, it can save your life by locating internal
bleeding quickly and noninvasively.
Called Vscan and manufactured by
General Electric, this device, which closely resembles Motorola’s Razr model
cellular phone, is a miniature and portable ultrasound machine that the IDF
Medical Corps recently decided to purchase and distribute to special forces that
operate far from Israel, behind enemy lines.
The ultrasound device weighs
just 390 grams and comes with a display unit and a small probe that is used to
inspect a body. It features a color-coded overlay that shows real-time blood
flow, and has a battery that lasts one hour.
Each unit costs tens of
thousands of dollars.
The Medical Corps began searching for a miniature
ultrasound device after a request was issued by a number of elite IDF units. The
units, which operate covertly in enemy territory, do not have the luxury of
having medical teams waiting nearby in case soldiers are wounded, and therefore
have to rely on themselves and the equipment they carry.
units the ability to independently treat wounded,” Maj. Guy Lakovsky, from the
Medical Corps’ research-and-development division, explained on Thursday. “If
there is a soldier wounded and you need to find internal bleeding, this gives
you the ability to do so quickly and without random cutting into a
Regular battalions operate together with medical teams that
usually move slightly behind the combat teams but are accessible in case of an
Buying the new ultrasound machines fits into the general trend
in the IDF Medical Corps, which has been focused in recent years on developing
and procuring small lightweight systems that can easily be carried into a battle
In January, the Medical Corps began equipping combat battalions
with compact battlefield respirators that can be used to resuscitate soldiers
wounded in the field.
Until then, due to their weight and large size,
respirators were not deployed on the front lines, but instead were reserved for
medical teams at field hospitals in the rear.
In comparison to the
brigade-level respirator, the new machine weighs 3.5 kg., can also be connected
to a standardized gas-mask filter in the event of a chemical or biological
attack, and comes with an eight-hour battery pack.