Christian Fellowes/Ryan Kerstein, Imperial College School of Medicine

JUNIOR DOCTORS Christian Fellowes and Ryan Kerstein are the inventors of an innovative disposable tourniquet product called Tournistrip. During their undergraduate placements the pair noted the emphasis placed on good infection control measures — and that this was not always possible within tight hospital budgets. One particular area was the use of reusable tourniquets in venesection. Seeing this as a potential gap in the available products, background research was undertaken on the infection risk of commonly used items on the ward and a study made of the infective organisms present in reusable tourniquets.

The research demonstrated the real risk of these items transferring infections to patients who may already be in a fragile condition, and Fellowes and Kerstein realised that no adequate commercially viable product was available in the market. The pair designed their tourniquet using their knowledge of the device and materials, and of similar products outside the medical sector. The product went through a number of alterations as they performed their alpha testing, and business consultants and medical personnel were approached for their advice before a final version was produced. Tournistrip is a long band made from a form of plasticised paper with similar dimensions to a watch strap. It is fastened using a quick-seal, quick-release sticking mechanism based on wrist bands used for security at large events.

This means the team has been able to use existing production techniques, keeping costs low. Fellowes’ and Kerstein’s contributions were vital in ensuring that the product reached the commercialisation stage. Through collaboration and intense negotiations, they were able to ensure initial patent protection, trials and production at minimal cost, increasing the potential of Tournistrip as a commercial product.

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