IDF to equip combat medics with micro-respirators

Developed in the US , the IDF says the smallish gizmo is in the final stages of receiving FDA approval.

respirator 224 88 (photo credit: IDF)
respirator 224 88
(photo credit: IDF)
The IDF plans to begin equipping combat battalions with 500 compact battlefield respirators to help resuscitate soldiers wounded in battle. The move is being taken in line with the lessons the IDF Medical Corps learned during the Second Lebanon War. In addition to the new "micro-respirator" - as it is being called in the IDF - the Medical Corps is working in conjunction with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to develop a battery-operated machine that will be able to turn regular air into 100% oxygen to resuscitate a wounded soldier. The respirator has been developed by the American Impact medical-engineering company and according to IDF sources is in the final stages of receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The development of the new systems is supervised by IDF Chief Medical Engineer Lt.-Col. Ya'acov Shalom. Until last year's war, only brigades were outfitted with battery-operated respirators that weighed some 10 kilograms. Due to their weight and relatively large size, the respirators were not deployed at the frontline but instead were kept by medical teams that waited behind combat units to treat soldiers. "The first hour - the 'Golden Hour' - after a person is wounded is the most critical time," a senior IDF officer said Wednesday. "This is why it is important that respirators also be deployed within frontline units." The new respirator weighs 3.5 kg. and can also be connected to a standard gas-mask filter in the event of a chemical or biological-infected battlefield. Each system costs $5,000. The new respirator will in the future be compatible with the oxygen-producer machine under development in the Technion. Using a ceramic element, the machine sucks in regular air, that contains 21 percent oxygen, and transforms it into air containing 100% oxygen. The Medical Corps is also in the process of procuring new medical kits for combat doctors. "During the war we realized that there are terrains that vehicles can't reach, and units had to walk for a long time," the senior officer said. "The problem was that the doctor's vest was not suitable for long hikes and was too heavy and bulky." As a result, the IDF hired Marom Dolphin - manufacturer of tactical vests - to create a vest that is suitable for long hikes, can open into several compartments and has a back-support system. "This will have a significant impact on the performance of medical teams during battle," the officer said.