Blood products will now be onboard all Air Evac Lifeteam air ambulances that serve the tri-state region. Air Evac and the Deaconess Blood Bank are collaborating to provide each helicopter with red blood cells and plasma to administer to trauma patients while in route to Deaconess Regional Trauma Center or other trauma centers.
“Patients with massive bleeding benefit from receiving blood products as soon as possible,” said Brian Short, Director of Operations, Global Medical Response (parent company of Air Evac). “By flying with blood products on board, our flight nurses can start an IV and begin giving lifesaving red blood cells or plasma as soon as possible.”
“Trauma patients have better outcomes when transfusions can begin in the field,” said Dr. Jay Woodland, trauma surgeon and Medical Director of the Deaconess Regional Trauma Center. “When a patient is losing blood, their blood pressure can become dangerously low, leading to hypotension. By giving patients blood products, we can treat hypotension without diluting the blood in the way that saline or other fluids would. This helps the patient have better oxygenation throughout the body, reducing injury to their brain and organs.”
Each Air Evac air ambulance from bases AE 46 at Deaconess Midtown and AE150 in Olney, IL will be equipped with two units of red blood cells (one O+, one O-), and two units of plasma. The helicopters have been equipped with special on-board coolers that keep the blood products within careful temperature control.
This new initiative began July 1, with the Air Evac and Deaconess Blood Bank teams practicing safe storage and transfer processes for the blood products throughout the month of June.