A Next Generation Tourniquet Is Once Again Available For US Army Soldiers After Settlement

Legal NewsMedical DevicesVeterans

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” 

The first two verses of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 best sums up the maxim, two are better than one. But when it comes to saving lives in combat operations, two tourniquets may be worse than one. 

And after the federal government settled a lawsuit last month with a medical supply company, the US Army can now purchase a single tourniquet that was previously banned. 

A North Carolina-based medical supply company founded by a retired Green Beret and Afghanistan combat veteran—Combat Medical LLC—along with its parent company, Safeguard Medical, reached an agreement with the Justice Department to remove the ban on the procurement of its Tactical Mechanical Tourniquet (TMT), reports Stars and Stripes

Corey Russ founded Combat Medical in 2008. The retired Army Special Forces medic believes the TMT helps save lives. In comparison to the standard tourniquet the US Army has been using for decades, the TMT has wider straps. This, claims Russ, solves the issue of sometimes requiring two tourniquets to stop bleeding.

Russ, along with Safeguard CEO Adam Johnson, filed suit against the federal government in October 2020 because the US Army placed an administrative code on the TMT in 2018. The code is reserved for medical devices deemed condemned or defective by the US FDA. Because of the code, Army units were not allowed to order the TMT. 

The TMT is one of the newer types of tourniquets proposed to the Department of Defense over the last decade or so. Combat Medical’s website states that a generational change has long been overdue when it comes to tourniquets. 

However, the US Army never provided an explanation to Combat Medical or Safeguard as to why the so-called “T-code” was applied to the TMT. Prior to effectively banning Army units from procuring the TMT, over 130,000 soldiers were issued the life-saving medical device. 

Stars and Stripes indicated that this may be the first time a medical product previously barred by the Army had been re-authorized for use, adding that the lawsuit and ensuing settlement highlighted problems with the way the US military procures medical devices. 

Procurement Paradox

Although top Army brass (and those from other military branches) have increasingly sought procurement of products outside the Defense Department’s standard gear, unnecessary roadblocks to providing equipment such as the TMT remain endemic. 

“Ironically, our lawsuit was the best way to help align [Defense Department] procurement actions with command intent,” Johnson told Stars and Stripes. “As a result, we made the choice not to seek damages in our complaint, but merely the reversal of steps taken to inappropriately block procurement of innovative products,” Johnson added. 

The TMT is now available again for US Army units to purchase.

To read the full report at Stars and Stripes, click here.


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