Dr. James McEwen Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

Dr. James McEwen

Long-time Faculty member Dr. James McEwen was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Washington, DC.

Dr. McEwen invented the first microprocessor-controlled automatic surgical tourniquet system. Devices based on his innovations are used worldwide in close to 20,000 surgeries each day!

His research in the 1970s revealed problems with the standard mechanical pneumatic tourniquets, such as an unreliable pressure-regulating mechanism and no fail-safe feature to limit maximum cuff pressure. He investigated instances where the use of surgical tourniquet resulted limb paralysis, nerve damage and other injuries. By the 1980s, Dr. McEwen has devised a new tourniquet using a computer to control the applied pressure and a timer to accurately record pressure time. If cuff pressures became too high or too low, audiovisual alarms would activate.

In 2011, Dr. McEwen was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to biomedical engineering. And in 2021, he received the Order of British Columbia.

Watch: Safety in Surgery: The James McEwen Story

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