A Tiny Simple Device Stops The Bleeding of a Man in Toronto


Gaven Mayo is a 27 years old man from Toronto who was rushed to a Montreal hospital after he was shot in his thigh with a rifle. He had lost a huge amount of blood. “On the way to the hospital, I was still basically losing blood the whole way. After I arrived at the hospital, they said I had lost about 80 percent of my blood,” Mayo explained.

At the moment the man is at the McGill University Health Centre. He remained there for the past six weeks and he is now waiting for transfer to a rehabilitation centre. The bullet had ripped his femoral artery which is the major blood vessel in the leg.

Saved by a simple device

Gaven Mayo might have lost his life, if doctors wouldn’t have used a tiny device named the angioplasty balloon. “The job of the angioplasty balloon is to dilate the artery to get it to open up; this one is to just occlude the artery and block the flow (with) the balloon so you stop bleeding,” said Dr. Andrew Beckett, an MUHC trauma surgeon who introduced the ER-REBOA device to the hospital.

The balloon offers the surgeons the time they need. It takes about wo minutes to insert the device. “You’ve got a window of about 45 minutes to an hour to get control of the bleeding and get the balloon (out),” Dr Andres Beckett said. “These are very sick patients and in a lot of cases, if you don’t get the balloon up, the patient can exsanguinate in five minutes.”

The device manages to keep blood circulating to the heart, brain and lungs and once the balloon is inflated the blood pressure of the patient is normalized and then the heart rate comes down.


Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca


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