LifeSave Kansas now caarries blood products onboard

LifeSave Kansas now caarries blood products onboard

8-Mar-2023 Source: Air Methods

LifeSave Kansas is proud to announce that, as part of Air Methods, it now can carry and administer blood products onboard every air medical transport of patients. Air Methods is the first and only air ambulance service in the state of Kansas with this capability. Having both blood and plasma on all of their Bell 407 helicopters and Pilatus PC-12 fixed wing airplanes allows their industry-leading trauma clinicians to provide additional life-saving care when every minute counts.

In celebration of this in-flight capability, the LifeSave Kansas base in Emporia held a special announcement event on Wednesday, March 8, and teamed up with Newman Regional Health and the American Red Cross to hold a community blood drive on March 8 and 9. Numerous agencies came together for the event, with speakers and representatives from Butler County EMS, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Kansas Department of Transportation, and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

“Newman Regional Health has been proud to offer lifesaving helicopter and fixed wing emergency medical transport services to our community for more than 18 years,” said Bob Wright, CEO of Newman Regional Health. “Recently, in collaboration with Newman Regional Health and our regional blood bank, LifeSave has been approved by the Americal Red Cross to carry and administer life sustaining blood transfusions while in flight so even more patients from our local community can be saved.”

The availability of blood and plasma during air medical missions can make a significant difference in patient outcomes. For example, in patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock due to blood loss, the administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport was found to be safe and resulted in a lower 30-day mortality rate and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. LifeSave covers the state with bases in Emporia, Wichita, Garden City, and Liberal. Their sister base, MedFlight Parsons, also carries blood.

The Kansas Highway Patrol has been crucial in moving blood products around the state via relay method using both patrol cars and air resources for emergency delivery of blood products to hospitals and care providers in need.

“We are thankful to LifeSave for taking the steps to bring emergency blood to the people of Kansas,” said Colonel Herman T. Jones, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “The ability to get Kansans the care they need in the shortest amount of time will save lives.”

Serious car accidents often lead to injuries that cause blood loss, so the capability LifeSave brings to accident scenes is very meaningful to both the Kansas Highway Patrol and the NHTSA.

“In any traffic crash, time is critical to reduce death and serious injury. This can be especially sensitive for those in rural areas. Having all the necessary resources available in a timely manner can make a difference between life and death in traffic crash situations in our rural communities,” said Susan DeCourcy, regional administrator with the NHTSA, Region 7.

Newman Regional Health is excited by LifeSave’s ability to administer blood in flight because of the improved outcomes for their patients. A high level of trust has been built between LifeSave and Newman Regional Health over the years, due in part to ongoing advancements like carrying blood in flight, along with the exceptional clinical training of the LifeSave nurses and paramedics. LifeSave is part of Air Methods, the nation’s largest air medical service provider. All Air Methods clinicians are required to have practiced at least three years in an emergency care or intensive care setting before joining a flight crew. They receive ongoing advanced training, and every nurse and paramedic has access to Air Methods Ascend, an in-person and online training program that allows clinicians to perform at the top of their licensure. Air Methods Ascend is available to medical personnel across the country.

Kansas continues to experience significant blood shortages. The blood crisis began when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled blood drives. As many people continue to work from home, the number of workplace blood drives remains critically low. Blood can’t be created in a lab – it is only obtained from people willing to donate. Between its short shelf life and the fact that someone in the United States receives a transfusion every two seconds, donors truly are heroes in our medical system.

“The Red Cross is the nation’s largest blood supplier and serves more than 120 hospitals throughout Kansas. We are so grateful to have LifeSave as a partner in transporting lifesaving blood to wherever it is needed,” said Susan Faler, Central Plains Blood Services Region account manager with the American Red Cross. “Patients don’t get to choose when they need blood to help them survive an accident, recover from childbirth complications, or make it through surgery, but they (and their doctors) count on it being there.”

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