Technical Specifications: Medikit
CLASSIFIED LEVEL YELLOW
PHALANX Extraterrestrial Response Unit
Technical Document, Delta Clearance
Filed: 19 March 2084
By: Surgeon-Captain Helen Floydd, Medical Division, PHALANX, Atlantic Operations Command
In the past, the application of first aid and field surgery in hostile situations required specially-trained combat medics and surgeons who could handle the stresses of saving lives under fire. Troops who saw their friends being hit usually had no choice but to keep fighting and hope the medics would arrive in time -- that is, if they didn't freeze or panic or make some futile attempt at a field dressing without ability or materials. If the wounded survived at all, they'd still be out of action for weeks or months at a time.
This may have been a workable strategy in the trenches of World War 2, but it isn't any longer. Waiting for a medic to arrive on the scene can contribute to the death of a soldier who might have been saved by immediate aid. The prompt application of trauma medicine needs to be made as quick and easy as possible so that any soldier can provide life-saving effort with minimal training. This is where the modern medikit comes in.
Every medikit contains an onboard computer that can diagnose injuries via directed X-ray and ultrasound. It can run ECGs and EEGs at the same time, measure blood pressure and heart rate, and even calculate the soldier's combat effectiveness based on his or her individual record (stored in a small subdermal chip for medical, locational and identification purposes). All this information can be shown in a small hologram or displayed directly to a soldier's helmet information system. At the same time the medikit can deploy a number of drugs and sterile surgical tools for emergency operations, cauterise wounds via a special heating iron, and -- most importantly -- apply its store of nanorobots to a wound.
The old idea of medical nanobots was first put into practice by Vietnamese researchers thirty years ago. Today, medicine without them is almost unthinkable. Nanobots are tiny robots several micrometres in diameter which can be programmed to perform specific tasks on the fly. They will quickly sterilise a wound and seal ruptured arteries, alert the medikit operator about any internal bleeding, request suction at appropriate places, patch up bowel or stomach punctures, revive or remove necrotic tissue, and repair nerve damage. They dissolve harmlessly in the victim's bloodstream once their battery runs out, which lasts no longer than 10 to 15 seconds, often not long enough to stabilise heavily-wounded troops. Two or more doses of nanobots may be required. Any number of doses can be applied and metabolised with no ill effects.
This technology is the most important breakthrough in trauma surgery ever made. It can do everything except regenerate tissue. If more attention is required -- for example when a vital organ is hit, or a bullet is lodged in a critical place -- the medikit provides equipment and detailed instructions for the soldier to follow. It can never replace the operating room, but it's as close to a portable hospital as we'll ever get.
All our soldiers have been trained in the use of the medikit. In fact, in an ideal situation, every soldier would carry one for immediate use -- but I recognise that our troops have a limited carrying capacity. All major wounds should be treated without delay to prevent complications and further risk to the injured soldier. If the victim can still walk, she should retreat from the firefight and seek cover in order to safely receive treatment by a comrade.
The medikit's onboard pharmacy can also be used to revive unconscious soldiers. If this is done, please take care to remove the revived troop from the line of fire as soon as possible and proceed with further treatment from a safe position. The medic herself may be forced to engage approaching targets to enable the patient's escape; this is acceptable practice, but please supply the medic with adequate covering fire. Trading one soldier's life for another does not make for good battlefield mathematics.
Once a wounded soldier makes it back to base alive, our medical team will take over treatment. The risk of anyone succumbing to battlefield trauma while in a PHALANX ward is less than one percent, and as near to zero as we can make it.