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Sep 2, 2015 8:55 PM

NH1 News Investigates: Tourniquet Troubles Part 2


WOODSVILLE – Paramedics are trained to save lives. Now, they’re being trained to spot fake equipment that could lead to serious injuries, even death.

This comes as the state is warning first responders about counterfeit tourniquets.

The warning went out after a motorcycle accident in Woodsvillem where the patient could have bled out after to of the three tourniquets that paramedics used broke. The paramedics there had no idea the tourniquets they were using would fail, but they were knock-offs.

Sean Buxton is the head medical instructor the state’s tactical officer association.

“They can't tell if they're knock-offs unless you have some training,” he said. That's why Buxton is giving paramedics a lesson they've never received before.

NH1 News spoke with the head of Woodsville’s EMS, Steven Robbins, in an exclusive interview.

We asked Robbins where the tourniquets come from.

“I don't know the supplier that we got those particular ones from,” he said.

When asked if he’d able to find that, Robbins said, “If I put the time into researching that. I mean I think at this point it's moot.”

NH1 News did some digging and found fake tourniquets can be found all over eBay and Amazon. They’re cheap, easy to get, and most come from China.

Robbins says that's not where he got his.

So where are they coming from?

“It could be anybody from EMS to law enforcement or just your citizen,” says Buxton.

We asked him if a local EMS department could potentially be buying the knock-offs? Buxton replied by saying, “Potentially.”

When asked if first-responders would know they were knock-offs, Buxton said, “They can’t tell they’re knock-offs.”

So we wanted to know who should take responsibility.

“It should really fall on the company that they bought it from,” says Buxton.

As for the real ones, they're labeled with the CAT logo. That stands for combat application tourniquet.

“It's going to say time and date on it in smaller letters,” Buxton said.

It comes with proper packaging and instructions.

It’s just one more thing paramedics need to know just so they can do their job.

The Federal Drug Administration says it is trying to get rid of the counterfeits from the markets as fast it can but many wonder if that will be enough to stop the flow of the knock-offs from China.


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