Prehospital blood transfusion will benefit patients with trauma, blood loss
In an effort to achieve better outcomes for patients in dire medical situations, BannerAir started carrying blood on its hospital-based air ambulance helicopters this month.
Made possible through Banner Health’s partnership with Laboratory Sciences of Arizona (LSA), a subsidiary of Banner Health that provides oversight for its laboratories, this potentially life-saving service will play a crucial role in the treatment of patients suffering from massive blood loss as a result of trauma or other injuries.
“Providing immediate life-saving blood as soon as possible improves the outcome for our patients,” said Meghan Shapiro, chief operating officer for LSA Hospital Laboratories. “Our LSA blood bank is excited to partner with BannerAir to provide this valuable resource where and when it is needed most.”
Each helicopter carries two bags of O-negative blood, the most common blood type needed for emergency transfusions. In order to preserve the blood and ensure none is wasted, the bags are placed into FDA-approved coolers for 72 hours on the helicopters before being returned to the LSA-managed blood bank at the hospital to be exchanged for new products. The temperature of the blood is constantly monitored, and any unused units go back to the hospital for inpatient use.
“This new service offered by BannerAir will be yet another vital tool in how we treat trauma patients who need to be airlifted to a hospital,” said Richard Swedbergh, chief operating officer for Banner Health Emergency Transportation. “Time is often a key factor for patients in these situations, and the ability for them to receive blood in the prehospital setting will make treatment more streamlined and increase the likelihood for more positive outcomes.”