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Cutting-Edge Medical Technologies Showcased

Defence medical professionals from around the world have gathered to showcase their latest cutting-edge technologies.

Defence medical professionals from around the world have gathered to showcase their latest cutting-edge technologies.

The Medical Innovation conference gives the medical professionals a chance to keep up with the latest medical equipment.

Surgeon General Lieutenant General Martin Bricknell, who is in charge of the Defence Medical Service, says they need to be ready for the demands of supporting service personnel all over the world.

Lt Gen Bricknell said: "The two things that we focus on is the prolonged field care - how to care for somebody before they're evacuated if it takes a while to evacuate them.

"The other is disease and non-battle injury - particularly as we're deploying to some of the more challenging countries in the world that are full of endemic disease as well as the risks of trauma." 

At the conference, a new kind of portable isolation stretcher was on display, which could be called into use in Sub-Saharan Africa or in the event of a chemical attack.

Medical Innovation Conference 2018 Stretcher

Charlie Bagshaw, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence expert explains the features of the new stretcher: 

"One of the key features of the stretcher system is to enable the casualty to be treated and monitored whilst they're in there.

"Once the casualty is in we can bring the cover down and zip the casualty inside - and any medics that need to conduct any sort of activity on the patient can do so using the glove import places on the stretcher system itself."  

Mr Bagshaw added: "There are three sets of gloves down each side and most importantly there's a set of gloves by the patients head as well so in terms of doing things around the patients head the medics still have good access."

A patient can also be fitted with IV lines as well as other medical monitoring equipment by using the ports on the outside of the stretchers cover.  

When asked whether the stretcher would be useful for scenarios involving Ebola or chemical poisoning, Mr Basgshaw replied:

"Absolutely, for an Ebola-type environment, it's really important to stop the bodily fluids transferring from one person to another, to contain the disease.

"This enables you to put a casualty inside a containment environment. Negative pressure makes sure everything stays inside there whilst you're treating the casualty to make sure nobody else is infected.

"For something like Salisbury with a chemical agent or any other type of environment that could be a toxic chemical in the industrial environment - a casualty can go in there, you can very quickly push the air through to remove any contaminated air out of the system to protect the individual inside." 

Many of the technologies that were showcased at the conference focused around portability and working in austere locations but there was also innovations that supported people living with injuries.

Medical Innovation Conference 2018 ReWalk

Chris Baker was serving with the Royal Engineers when he was injured by a homemade bomb in Iraq, in the summer he walked for the first time in ten years using the ReWalk Exoskeleton.

"My health is better, I'm spending more times doing things."

Mr Baker has used a wheelchair since 2008 and says he has been involved in the trial for the last 12 to 18 months.

"It's made a massive difference just in those few months." 

The Medical Innovation Conference is just part of a drive in Defence Medicine to build on the achievements made on the frontline in Afghanistan and to keep at the forefront of new technology.