For more than two decades, John Steinbaugh served as a Special Forces medic in the Army, and now he’s reinvented himself as an inventor.
Steinbaugh is the man behind the company RevMedx, which is developing new technologies to keep soldiers wounded at war alive. Back in February, NationSwell reported that the company’s first invention, XStat, was awaiting FDA approval, a hurdle it cleared in April. Now, RevMedx is gearing up to supply XStat to the military, plus developing additional technologies.
Steinbaugh’s innovation grew out of his observation that people have been using gauze to staunch bleeding for centuries, but the material doesn’t work well for wounds on certain parts of the body, such as the armpit and pelvis.
Steinbaugh tells Cat Wise of the PBS NewsHour, “Back in 2006-2007, at the height of the war, medics were getting fed up with the standard gauze. And we started seeing wounds that were much worse than what we were seeing at the beginning of the war. Medics were having more difficulties stopping the bleeding. And the way the medics described the device they wanted was fix-a-flat. So if you think of your tire, you inject the fix-a-flat into your tire, it finds the escaping air, it plugs it, and done.”
Steinbaugh couldn’t provide Army medics with fix-a-flat for people, but the product inspired his idea for a syringe loaded with tiny, compressed sponges that instantly expand when inserted into a wound, thereby stopping the bleeding. When Steinbaugh retired from the military he started RevMedx in Portland, Ore., and a $5 million grant from the Army sustained the company during the three years needed to develop XStat.
The sponges in an XStat are coated with blood-clotting medicine and expand 15 times their original size — applying pressure to the wound and stopping arterial bleeding within 20 seconds, according to testing the company has done. Additionally, each sponge includes markers detectable by X-ray so that surgeons can easily locate and remove them.
The company has starting shipping XStat to the military and is already modifying the idea for civilian applications, as well as developing a gauze with XStat sponges inside: XGauze.
Steinbaugh says, “Ever since the first day we started working on this, there’s been an immediate interest for other types of products, smaller shrapnel wounds, or small-caliber pistol wounds, and even in the civilian community, like law enforcement, or prison knife wounds and stabbings.”