Local air ambulance crews start carrying blood and plasma supplies

Blood and plasma supplies will now be carried on the life-saving missions operated by local air ambulance crews.

By Nick Rennie
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:17 pm
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The move will enable emergency blood transfusions to be given to those patients who have life-threatening bleeding from medical conditions to severe injuries - predominately sustained through road traffic collisions or stabbings.

It is a huge boost for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA), which attends victims of major trauma some of which suffer catastrophic bleeding.

Crews will carry packed O negative red blood cells (pRBC), which carry oxygen around the body, and Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP), which contains clotting factors that help to make a blood clot and stop bleeding.

With road traffic collisions making up most of the incidents The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS), which operates the DLRAA has attended over the past 19 years, and with the increase of knife crime throughout its counties, this onboarding of blood and plasma further enhances the vital care provided to the service’s patients.

“For the bleeding patient, blood transfusion is one part of a package of critical care that is provided by our teams to bring advanced resuscitation earlier in the patient’s care before they arrive at hospital, giving them the best chance of survival,” explained TAAS deputy clinical lead, Dr Caroline Leech.

“With data showing that two-thirds of major trauma patients who required emergency blood transfusion were treated and transported by TAAS, it has shown there may be a potential benefit in bringing blood to the patient earlier.

“All our doctors and critical care paramedics have received comprehensive training alongside enhanced procedures to be able to deliver the intervention efficiently at scene.”

The project has taken 18 months to come to fruition and is a collaboration between University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust blood transfusion laboratory, Nottingham University Hospital blood transfusion laboratory, the Warwickshire & Solihull Blood Bikes, and Leicestershire & Rutland Blood Bikes.

There will be a 24-hour rotation of blood products under the initiative wth any unused supplies given back for use in hospitals.