8-Jun-2020 Source: HALO-Flight
Hemorrhagic death remains the leading cause of survivable deaths in trauma cases; and now, the air ambulance professionals at HALO-Flight are changing that notion for South Texans with the introduction of blood on board each life-saving Mission.
In 2005, the Fifty-Eighth World Health assembly designated World Blood Donor Day – June 14 – as an annual event to foster support of access to sufficient safe blood. Years later, the awareness day still draws attention to the life-saving benefits of transfused blood and blood products that save millions of lives. Pre-hospital blood transfusions, the type now being provided to South Texans by HALO-Flight, can only be successful with continued commitment from donors.
For more than one year, HALO-Flight Chief Medical Officer Randy Endsley, RN, and Flight Nurse and Blood Project Lead Christal Tressider, RN, have dedicated every spare moment to the pursuit of the HALO-Flight pre-hospital blood project, exploring federal regulatory guidelines; procuring exacting equipment for blood storage, portable deployment on the aircraft as well as developing processes, procedures and protocols.
Additionally, Tressider has undertaken intensive training from conferences across the country and brought in the strongest practices for training with the entire HALO-Flight Medical Crew. “Our Registered Nurses at HALO-Flight,” says Endsley, “come to us having administered hundreds of transfusions in their past careers. And now, we are working to achieve similar competencies with our Flight Certified Paramedics as well to ensure that each flight crew is fully prepared for what each trauma patient presents.”
“Our job is the essence of unpredictability,” Tressider said during a recent in-service with the HALO-Flight medical crew. “The goal is to restore the body’s ability to clot. If they have massive bleeding, they need blood, not saline.”
HALO-Flight Medical Directors Dr. Jay Koska and Dr. Michael Simmons have been actively engaged in implementation of this life-saver for South Texans.
A major milestone came with the receipt of a very generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Gary Jones of Beeville making it possible for the staff to secure the long list of specific and specialized equipment needed for on-board pre-hospital blood transfusions.
With over 1,270 South Texans transported last year, many of whom were victims of accidents including major trauma incidents, utilization of pre-hospital blood will certainly reduce mortality rates.
With a 28,000 square mile service area, giving patients’ bodies a chance to restore natural defense mechanisms to better accommodate travel time to higher levels of care, which could be many miles away, is an outcome HALO-Flight is seeking for all Missions. Donating blood where you live or where you work makes the life-saving administration of pre-hospital blood in the air ambulance an absolute game changer for South Texans.
In 2015, HALO-Flight began the administration of an antifibrinolytic medication known as tranexamic acid (TXA) to patients. This next escalation of care for patients experiencing excessive blood loss will ensure patient outcomes are improved on many levels.
“It is with great appreciate to Mr. and Mrs. Jones for their generous gift, and to Christal Tressider for her consummate leadership of this vital project, that we launch this service for South Texans,” stated HALO-Flight Executive Director Tom Klassen. “It is not always easy to be a leader in the complicated world of healthcare,” Klassen added. “But since our humble beginnings in 1987, it has been and remains HALO-Flight’s goal for all the South Texas patients for whom we care.”