The term "Israeli bandage" is not an official name for a product, but rather a nickname for a specific design of bandage. It is a stretchy bandage with a padded area, a mechanism to apply pressure on a wound and another mechanism to hold the bandage in place. Officially called an "Emergency bandage" by its manufacturers, the bandage comes in various sizes. It is suitable for first aid situations, and is useful to stem the flow of blood from a wound, potentially saving the injured person's life.
Bernard Bar-Natan is the designer of the Israeli bandage. He was a medic in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the 1980s, where he thought he could improve on the types of bandage that the IDF used for stemming blood flow from combat injuries. The Israeli bandage is similar to traditional bandages, as it has stretchy fabric and a sterile pad to absorb blood and cushion an injury. It also incorporates a bar that when twisted, tightens the bandage and applies pressure. The fourth major feature of the bandage is a built-in closing mechanism, so it can be closed without the need for an extra closing piece, like a safety pin or bandage tape.
During the Bosnian conflict, in 1998, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) used the bandages for treating some of its injured troops. The U.S. Army began using the bandage in their field kits in 2003, and the Americans nicknamed this emergency bandage the Israeli bandage. The IDF themselves added the bandage to their medical kits in 2006.
Primarily used for combat and first aid situations, the point of the bandage is to slow, or stop, the bleeding from an injured person until he or she can reach the hospital for further treatment. Often the injured person has other people around him or her that can apply the bandage, but if the person is alone, self-application is also possible. As well as military organizations, paramedics may also use the product as part of a first aid kit. The general public can also buy the bandage for first aid kits.
Several forms and sizes of Israeli bandage are available, which vary in width. The bandage comes in an airtight package, and is sterile to reduce the chance of wound infection. They are primarily manufactured in Israel.