Once-doubted tourniquet seen as Boston lifesaver

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By MIKE STOBBE, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, rescuers turned to an age-old medical device to save lives — the tourniquet.

They tied off bleeding limbs using belts, shirts and other materials. Doctors at Boston hospitals said such fast work no doubt saved many lives.

But as recently as a decade ago, emergency responders might have avoided the tourniquet. It was still caught up in a controversy about whether they were more trouble than they were worth.

However, studies from the Iraq war showed they were clear-cut lifesavers and they are now routinely issued to soldiers.

The American Red Cross continues to advise that direct pressure be applied to a wound except in extreme cases.

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