Emergency medical care for soldiers wounded on the battlefield has
come a long way since Hawkeye and Hot Lips. But for Special Forces
troopers operating deep behind enemy lines, that care often remains out
of reach. Blood loss in particular makes seconds count, and imperils
commandos operating far away from friendly bases.
To help with the problem of blood loss from traumatic wounds, the
military has started field-testing a device more Mandalorian than
M.A.S.H.: a plasma knife.
knife, whose blade consists of heated, ionized gas, cuts through flesh
just as easily a steel scalpel, but also cauterizes the wound. By
sealing off the damaged flesh, the plasma knife protects against
infection, and stops the bleeding that imperils the wounded soldier.
Think the crispy stump of Luke's severed hand, and you'll get the
For now, the plasma blade remains a life-saving device, not a
weapon. But I think it goes without saying that we all look forward to
the day when the military converts this technology into a more elegant
weapon, for a more civilized time.