UNM Rainforest Innovations

In 2012, STC.UNM licensed a lightweight, one-size-fits-all femoral traction splint, developed by former UNM emergency medicine doctor Sam Slishman, to medical supplies and products company Rescue Essentials.  Today, the Slishman Traction Splint (STS) has reached $1 million in sales thanks to its innovative design and ease of use.

The company has served the emergency medical community with low-cost, cutting-edge medical supplies since 2007, supplying products to medical and law enforcement agencies worldwide, including the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the DOD. In January 2018, Rescue Essentials was acquired by Tri-Tech Forensics, a leader in the crime scene supplies, digital forensics and evidence-collection kit markets.  The strategic partners are combining their services and expertise to offer products to a wider customer base in the first responder and tactical medical markets.

STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila is pleased that a technology developed at the University of New Mexico has reached such a milestone in the market.  “It’s gratifying to see a great idea turned into a successful product that benefits patients, saves lives, and contributes to company growth.  The STS will reach even more patients and responders during this market expansion.”

The splint’s traction mechanism is positioned on the patient’s hip with an adjustable groin strap and telescoping aluminum poles with locking clamps for accessible and fast traction adjustments enroute to the hospital. Femur traction is applied through the extension of the pole segments creating a pushing force on the ankle strap instead of pulling distally from the foot.

Slishman developed the splint to overcome design problems associated with older traction splints and used the idea of a ski pole/walking stick outfitted with pulley system as the original concept for the splint.  Because the STS doesn’t extend beyond the foot, is lightweight, and compact, it won’t get in the way of ambulance doors, hoisting baskets, or strike any other obstacle that could cause further pain and injury to the patient.  The STS weighs 21 ounces and is 23” W x 3” H x 3” D taking up little space in vehicles or aircraft, and can be strapped to jump bags and backpacks.

The STS can be used on both adults and children.  The one-unit device is easy to put together (no pole assembly) and can be placed on the patient in under 60 seconds with a four-step application process.  It can also be used with lower leg injuries and foot amputations since the ankle strap can be re-positioned proximal to the calf to allow for femur traction and lower leg splinting or bandaging.  The device is ideal for transport via Stokes basket, sled, helicopter and ambulance. Additionally, the splint does not obstruct visualization of dense bone when the leg is X-rayed and makes trauma room examinations and treatments easier.  In fact, in cases where surgery is required, the STS can stay on the patient until arrival at the operating room.

Femoral fractures with associated lower extremity trauma or amputation are a common battlefield injury.  In a 2014 traction splint study, “Evaluation of Commercially Available Traction Splints for Battlefield Use,” by Nicholas M. Studer, MD, EMT-P, et al., comparing the STS to three other commercially available traction splints used by the U.S. government, the STS had the “best objective performance during testing and the highest subjective evaluation by participants.”  (https://www.rescue-essentials.com/traction-splint-study/)

As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico (UNM), STC.UNM (STC) protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring them to the marketplace.  We connect the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to these UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of start-up companies. STC’s vision is to play a vital role in New Mexico’s economic development and to be a leader in technology commercialization.  Under the leadership of CEO Lisa Kuuttila, STC is substantially growing its program using the Rainforest model to develop an innovation economy in New Mexico.  To learn more about us, visit our website at http://www.stc.unm.edu.

About Rescue Essentials
Rescue Essentials’ core capabilities include the design, assembly, and distribution of customized trauma and medical kits.  Excelling at contract assembly of customer-specified components, they specialize in the sourcing and assembly of these kits for law enforcement and government agencies. Their willingness to address both small and large runs in a variety of delivery systems sets them apart from other manufacturers.  The outcome is a product line and a set of capabilities that address budget requirements, ever changing protocols, and fit within the world of real-time, tactical professionals.  For more information, visit www.rescue-essentials.com.

About Tri-Tech Forensics
Tri-Tech Forensics (TTF) is a leader in providing physical and digital evidence collection solutions and crime-scene investigation products to law enforcement markets throughout the world.  With over 30 years of experience, TTF is the nation’s most proficient developer and manufacturer of forensic evidence collection kits in the market today.  TTF’s premiere DNA collection kits have become the benchmark solution for DNA collection for U.S. Federal operations and across law enforcement customers in all fifty U.S. states.  TTF continues to develop superior products to aid in all aspects of forensic investigation, crime laboratory analysis, digital forensics, and evidence preservation.  For more information, visit www.tritechforensics.com.

Skip to content