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An Awesome Natural Blood-Clotting Bandage Made With Shrimp Shells

Afterthe start of the latest Iraqi conflict some three years ago, I told youabout the one of the newer and most effective technologies developed byOregon-based HemCon to stanch bleeding and promote clotting: A bandage made with chitosan,a natural protein found in shrimp shells. Evidently, this naturalproduct is working well: The U.S. Army plans to issue a bandage toevery soldier serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and five to medics,amounting to at least 180,000.

About the size of a square coaster, the bandage not only creates aseal to stop bleeding, it promotes clotting (by producing a positivecharge attracting blood cells and platelets that carry a negativecharge), has antibacterial properties and, unlike other woundtreatments, it doesn't burn healthy skin.

With its success on the battlefield firmly established, Hemcon islooking to penetrate consumer markets. The only negative about thisnatural technology that may slow down its acceptance among statesidehealth professionals: These bandages aren't cheap. The retail price fora 4-inch square dressing is $125, although there are cheaper versions available ($25 for a bandage half that size).

These bandages are already paying dividends, thanks to HemCon'srecent donations to local EMTs, particularly for seniors takinganticoagulant drugs and being far more prone to wounds that requireeven more expensive transfusions.

CNNMoney.com September 22, 2006