Former army medic designs burns app to aid treatment

image captionUsers of the app colour in the area of burns on a body outline

A former soldier has designed a mobile application aimed at ensuring accuracy in the treatment of burns in the field.

Mersey Burns allows medics to work out on an iPad or iPhone how much fluid a patient needs.

Wirral designer Chris Seaton, an ex-Royal Army Medical Corps captain, came up with the idea while studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester.

Mr Seaton witnessed the treatment of burns victims firsthand while serving in Afghanistan.

The former captain, who is studying Computer Science, was an army medic for four years.

He said he designed the app in order to both speed up the process of administering fluids and reduce errors in treatment.

The issuing of the right amount of fluids to burns victims is essential in their treatment, as receiving too little can cause a victim to go into shock.

At present, calculations of treatment by field medics and non-medical personnel are often done quickly with a pen and paper, a situation which can carry a risk of mathematical mistakes.

image captionMr Seaton served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Afghanistan

On the app, users colour in their patient's affected areas on a body outline, add details of age and weight and then receive precise details of how much fluid should be given.

Tests by experts at St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust and the University of Liverpool showed the errors in the amounts given were reduced by a third when using the app.

The clinician who helped design it, Dr Rowan Pritchard-Jones, said it made "the prescription of fluids to burns patients more accurate and less time consuming".

He said it also had the advantage of also using "the touch screen phone technology that most physicians already carry around in their pockets".

Mr Seaton said the app was a good example of how medics can use new technology.

"There is great possibility for creating really innovative technology by pairing up small touch screen devices with medicine," he said.

"Even simple ideas can make a big difference and all it takes is a doctor getting together with a computer scientist to make it a reality."

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