Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) has now given blood transfusions to more than 100 patients.
This incredible milestone was reached recently when a man involved in a road traffic collision was given a pre-hospital transfusion by a clinical team based at the charity’s North Weald airbase, who attended the incident by rapid response vehicle.
Laurie Phillipson, one of the charity’s clinical managers said: “We began carrying blood on board our helicopters and Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) in March 2019 to provide an extra level of care to patients suffering significant blood loss.
“Being able to give a pre-hospital transfusion at the scene of an incident can be a life-saving intervention for the most seriously injured, and is another example of how EHAAT is bringing innovative care to the patient’s side. Previously patients who suffered blood loss were given a saline solution, which doesn’t carry oxygen or help with clotting.”
“This milestone would not have been reached without the support we receive from the amazing laboratory and
transfusion team at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, who provide our blood, and the fantastic volunteer drivers and bikers of the Essex Voluntary Blood Service who deliver the blood to our bases daily.
“This winter, there are extra challenges to provide hospitals with the blood, plasma and platelets they need. Please help by becoming a blood donor!”
EHAAT’s helicopters and RRVs carry packed red blood cells of blood group O Negative, meaning they can be used on any patient. When required, these are given with plasma, the other major component of human blood. Together these form a meaningful volume replacement for our shocked and bleeding trauma patients.
The blood is replaced daily and replenished as required. It is delivered and stored in special insulated boxes that keep it at a cool temperature for over 24 hours. These are fitted with a data logger that indicates if the temperature is trending outside of safe limits. If unused after 24 hours the blood is returned to the hospital for use elsewhere, preventing any wastage of this precious commodity. When the blood is required, it is warmed to body temperature to make it safe to administer and prevent unnecessary cooling of the patient.
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