Free Danny Nightingale – soldier and inventor

We’re not normally in favour of springing people from jail, but we’re happy to make an exception for Danny Nightingale, SAS sniper and combat medic. And, it turns out, successful inventor.

The story is here and in many other places. Briefly, this incontestably brave and selfless soldier has been jailed for 18 months for something that no one with any common sense would regard as a crime. Civilian police certainly didn’t think there was a case to answer, but Sgt Nightingale was tried by a military court clearly stuck in the eighteenth century.

It’s particularly relevant to the non-case that Sgt Nightingale suffers from memory loss, the result of brain damage incurred during a charity fund-raising endurance event.

Disturbingly, it seems he’s now also the victim of deliberate attempts to smear and silence him. As usual, keeping high-ranking faces free from egg appears to be more of a priority than correcting a glaring injustice.

What endears Danny Nightingale to us – as if his military and charitable endeavours were not enough – is that as a medic he designed a new kind of combat field dressing. Named the Nightingale Dressing (bound to be confused with Florence, but never mind), it is used by the NHS and armed forces around the world.

It’s a high-adherence dressing that enables much larger and deeper wounds to be treated than previously, particularly in the chest area.

It undoubtedly helps save many lives. And according to at least one report, Sgt Danny Nightingale ‘has never received any money’ for his invention. Presumably because that’s the kind of person he is – working and caring for others rather than thinking of himself. (And, come to think of it, in that regard maybe a better modern role model than his somewhat oversold namesake Florence.)

There’s an enormous and growing wave of public, political and military support for Danny, so one can only hope that he’s free and back with his family in days rather than weeks.

But let’s not ever forget that it’s men and women like him, in all walks of life, who take the trouble (and it is trouble!) to conceive and develop inventions that make the world a better and safer place. The Nightingale Dressing didn’t come from a big company or a university department. It came from a lone inventor.

To whomever is responsible for arranging these things: can we have many more Danny Nightingales, please?

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