I’m just going to start right off and say, “I love this splint!” In my opinion, there is no reason to look any further than this product for most of your splinting needs. I’ve been doing battlefield trauma medicine since 1981, when I first went to Basic Training and we received our first aid classes. Lots of things have changed over the years, with incredible advancements being made in all areas of trauma treatment. The SAM Splint is good for the battlefield. It is good for home use. It is good for a vehicle aid bad. In fact, there is no real reason NOT to have one available to you.
When I first learned about splinting, it was always an improvised splint. Infantrymen only carried a 4x7 Field dressing and nothing else. If somebody had an orthopedic injury, such as a sprain or fracture, we had to improvise how we were going to immobilize the injury. In those days it was all about finding a stick, board, broom handle, rolled up magazines/newspapers, and other devices to try and improvise a rudimentary splint. It wasn’t pretty and in many instances was not very effective.
Bass Wood splints were fairly common with some of the medics. These worked OK, but they had serious limitations. I carried them for a while in my aid bag, but was never happy with how they performed.
1. They are bulky
2. You can’t shape them into whatever fracture pattern you might have. Remember, we don’t really want to move a fracture if we can avoid it.
3. We had to pad them so they wouldn’t cut into the patient
Then one day a bright light is seen streaming from the heavens, and the horns of all heaven’s angels are heard trumpeting the arrival of the new miracle. The SAM Splint had been invented! No more scouring the tree line looking for fallen branches. No more trying to find something to make a splint out of……in the middle of the desert where you only have sand!
I remember looking in awe the first time I was given one. It was so lightweight! It was so compact! It hardly took up any space at all in my aid bag! I then unwrapped it and looked at the pictures showing me how to form the most common splints utilized. I opened the splint up and it was wobbly. What! A splint that wobbles and is flexible! What kind of joke was someone trying to play on me? Splints are supposed to be rigid! I was so confused. I felt like a monkey looking at a wristwatch. In frustration, I went back to the instructions.
I learned that the SAM was constructed of a pliable metal with a soft foam covering the metal. Hey! No more having to wrap every splint I owned with layer upon layer of gauze and tape. That’s a good thing!
I also learned how to make a C-curve and “T” with the SAM splint. I learned that when you take the splint and bend it….it becomes as rigid as a broom handle. I also learned I could shape this thing into various positions so I wouldn’t have to manipulate a fracture. I could actually splint the fracture as it was presented to me. IT WAS MAGIC! These things suddenly became the hottest trading commodity in the unit. Every chance I had, I was trying to get more of these things. I made up my mind that if I had another son, I was going to name him SAM!!!
The SAM splint served me very well for the remainder of my career in the military. It still performs well for me in the civilian world. I personally have them in my home trauma bag and my vehicle aid bag. I normally take them out of the wrapper and line the edges of my bag with a couple of them. They conform beautifully to the irregular shape of the bag and it takes up very little space in that configuration.
Here is a Recap of why I like the SAM Splint:
1. Very compact
2. No padding needed (unless you think you will have an extended evacuation, then you may want to add some as extra protection. Padding not needed in most instances)
3. Can conform to any irregularly shaped fracture you may have
4. Easy to apply
5. Memory retention of how to apply is maintained, as it is not a complicated splint
In conclusion, I think you will find the SAM splint to be incredibly easy to use and very effective at immobilizing fractures. I have various videos showing how to apply the SAM Splint in multiple configurations. Check them out and I’m sure you will learn to love it as I have.
Patrick O’Neil, PA