Plastic splints make first aid easier

By / 10th of February, 2016

SPLINTS made from plastics commonly used to make toys and car parts are set to help emergency services treat patients with fractured limbs.

Fluoro Medical Ltd has designed a new lightweight, compact splint made from a thermoplastic polymer in South Australia.

Managing director Scott Blackburn said the revolutionary CAS splints were easy to use and did not require any prior medical training.

“Its unique design not only allows for it to be attached to different body shapes, but it can also be cut down so it can be used on younger patients as well,” Blackburn said.

The thermoplastic polymer skin, more commonly found in toys and automobile products, is relatively inexpensive, lightweight and waterproof, meaning it will not shrivel with rain or bend with pressure.

The splints were developed in collaboration with South Australian researchers from Flinders University, who are conducting the trial before they can be launched commercially.

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Scott Blackburn from Fluoro Medical and Flinders University's Prof Karen Reynolds with one of the CAS Splints. 

At $15 each the reusable devices are about a third of the cost of other splints on the market.

The project recently received an Accelerating Commercialization grant from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Blackburn said Fluoro Medical was working towards a May release date.

“Our end goal is to ship our South Australian product internationally and we are in talks to send it to the US later this year,” he said.

Splints currently used by some emergency services consist of pieces of cardboard strapped to a patient’s arm or leg using bandages.

The polypropylene products come with their own straps and can be folded small enough to fit inside a standard first aid kit.

The splints are also suitable for domestic use and are ideal for treating patients after water rescues because of their waterproof nature.

Flinders University’s Medical Device Partnering Program director Karen Reynolds said the trials would further improve the product’s design.

“We will test the usability of the product with a whole variety of people including those who are not medically trained … we are just waiting for ethics approval,” Prof Reynolds said.

Senior Research Associate at MDPP Aaron Mohtar said the end goal of the project was to commercialise the product and export it globally.

“The hope is that there would be an easy-to-use CAS Splint in every standard first aid kit,” Dr Mohtar said.

South Australian State Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher said all elements of the splints would be manufactured in South Australia.

“The State Government funding – through the Medical Technologies Program – will provide 250 hours of research and development assistance from the Flinders MDPP, together with 30 hours of market intelligence which can be utilised by Fluoro Medical to craft a business case and commercialization strategy at a later stage,” Maher said.

Key contacts

Julia Mann
Julia@fluoromedical.com