Photo: Pitchayanan Kongkaew/iStock

Critical Care with Dr. Marc Curial

By Carly Peters

Dr. Marc Curial credits a child-hood mishap (and subsequent stitches) for his career in emergency medicine. But cut a little deeper, and you’ll see it might actually be the comedic skits he created in medical school. 

Creativity—the desire to make something new and think outside the box—is one of the most essential traits of an emergency physician. And it comes naturally to Curial, who practices at Edmonton’s Misericordia Community Hospital. This creative streak also explains his secondary passion: medical inventor. 

“In times of trauma—caused by car accidents, shootings or even in war—minutes matter,” Curial explains. This inspired Curial to imagine an EpiPen-like injector that could quickly deliver medications, pain control and sedatives. 

A lifesaving game changer

To develop the device, Curial joined forces with his friend Chris Terriff, a mechanical engineer, to found MACH32. Since 2019, the Edmonton startup has been on the cutting edge of new medical technology. 

The pair is currently putting Curial’s trauma system through live tissue trials with a NATO-based military force. The device injects life-saving doses of tranexamic acid (TXA), a medication used to prevent excessive blood loss. As Curial explains, “the faster TXA is administered, the better it works. Every 15-minute delay reduces an injured person’s survival rate by 10 percent.”

He hopes the new system will be as accessible as automated external defibrillators, widely available to quickly treat the public when needed. And since nine percent of worldwide deaths are attributed to trauma. MACH32’s device could have far-reaching global applications. A particular focus, Curial notes, would be treating postpartum hemorrhage, a preventable mortality that claims 200 women per day around the globe. 

Dr. Marc Curial

Pandemic pressures

Back home in Alberta, Curial and his colleagues face their own daily crisis with Covid-19. When the pandemic began putting pressure on Edmonton hospitals, the doctor found himself with ill-fitting PPE. Naturally, he conjured up a creative solution. 

Many hospitals, particularly those in rural Alberta, have little to no access to negative-pressure environments. These are imperative to treating patients while keeping health-care workers safe. So Curial designed a portable and affordable negative-pressure isolation tent to perform airway procedures safely. The patented project has been adopted by three hospitals in Ontario. Alberta is currently testing it for future use.

As Curial says, his home province has been the perfect testing ground for such innovative medical solutions. With a willingness to try some-thing new and accomplish things, Alberta matches the ideals he’s held since those childhood stitches all those years ago.