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Why the trauma bandage is called an Israeli bandage?

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Why the trauma bandage is called an Israeli bandage

The emergency bandage, also known as the Israeli bandage, is a first-aid device specially designed for stopping bleeding from hemorrhagic wounds in pre-hospital conditions caused by traumatic injuries.

For years, people died from non-fatal wounds, and one of the most preventable causes of this death was the inability to stop the bleeding quickly and effectively. For example, in the early 1990s during the Gulf War, there were times when US soldiers who were fighting on the Middle Eastern battlefield found themselves using dressings that were dating back to World War II to patch up their wounds. Also, in the past, medics or soldiers who were treating wounds had to make use of three or four different dressings to bandage a wound. It would normally be difficult to achieve the appropriate pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. It was also time-consuming.

However, American forces now use an advanced bandage developed in Israel, which can help save a life by stopping traumatic hemorrhaging wounds and can also be used as a sling or as a tourniquet. The US troops nicknamed the Israeli bandage; this emergency bandage was created by an American-Israeli named Bernard Ben-Natan. In 1984 while Ben-Natan was in training to become a medic in the Israeli military, he noticed the bandages they were issued for control of bleeding were manufactured in 1942 or sometimes in 1938. More recent styles had the same features and design as the bandages from 1942. The trainees were also advised that if a wound would not clot on its own, they should grab a stone and apply pressure to the wound with the stone. So then, Ben-Natan began working on a new generation of bandages that would not need you to grab a stone before applying the proper pressure on the wound.

For some time, Ben-Natan was located at the Jerusalem Software Incubator (JSI). In 1997, Ofer Molad, who is the founder and President of PerSys Medical, went to the JSI on a visit looking for interesting new technologies, and this was where he discovered the bandage. According to Molad, “It was not high-tech, it was not a software project, it was not even sexy in terms of those days, but I fell in love with it for its simplicity and genius.” First Care Product is the name of the company that produces the Israeli bandage, which back then was just a four-man Jerusalem start-up. Molad then brought in angel investors to First Care, and they pumped in an investment of $150,000 into it. This investment was followed by a $450,000 investment from other angel investors such as Performance Systems that markets and distributes products in the US, Molad himself. This made the overall investment in the company up to $900,000. Between 1990 and 1991, the idea and the design were already developed enough to apply for support from the Israeli government from the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Industry’s office. This led to an initial investment of $300,000 by the Office of the Chief Scientist.

First Care Products got its first break in the year 2000 when a trainer and medic for the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, Robert Miller, who was based in Ft. Benning, Georgia, picked up an active interest in the bandage. He began making use of samples of the bandage in Houston. He used them on bullet wounds at the emergency room where the Ranger trained during peacetime. That same year, he took the bandages to Bosnia and started using them on the battlefield. There were good reports about the bandage, and it was found to save lives as noted by Molad saying, “Battle conditions in Bosnia were very difficult. When soldiers got injured, they should not be removed immediately for treatment, and there was often a lapse of time before they saw a medic. This was the critical time to use the bandage.”

The 75th Ranger Regiment began buying the bandages from First Care in 2001, and it became standard for every ranger to get their Emergency Bandage in their emergency kit in December 2002. The FBI, CIA, and other special units followed in the footsteps of the Ranger Regiment and started buying the Emergency Bandages also.

The Emergency Bandage is an elasticized bandage that has a non-adhesive pad sewn in. Although it is similar to elastic bandages that are used in the treatment of sprain injuries, they have 3 features that make them unique:

  • It has a sterile non-adherent dressing that allows for the bandage's removal without the wound being reopened.

  • It has a pressure applicator placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding by applying pressure on it. It also makes it possible for the direction of the bandage to be changed, and the bandage can then be wrapped around the wound once in different directions. It is mostly useful to stop bleeding in head and groin injuries, making it easier to bandage.

  • There is also a closure bar at the end of the bandage that can help to secure the bandage and put additional pressure on the wound. It helps the bandage clip properly without slipping, and it can also be used with one hand in a sliding motion.


In the past, the wounded soldiers had to be taken from battlefields to hospitals by US military medics for treatment. This often resulted in an irreversible and prolonged loss of blood. Today, there has been a change in tactics, and the soldiers are now treated on the battlefield, and the Israeli bandage has a lot to do with this.

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