St. Joseph AirMedical one of the first to carry blood, plasma on board

POSTED: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 4:15pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 7:03pm

In an emergency every second counts and it can be the difference between life or death.

It's called the golden hour.

"The general idea is that you can move a trauma patient from the accident scene or whatever has occurred to them to the operating room or to the ER where they can get blood within an hour," said Billy Rice, St. Joseph AirMedical supervisor.

In the past when patients needed to be transported to the hospital by helicopter, paramedics would give them saline in the air to help stabilize them until they arrived in the ER.

But research shows that's not the best thing for a trauma patient.

"When you're losing blood, you need blood," said St. Joseph's Trauma Medical Director, Dr. Adair deBerry-Carlisle. "There are several things that go on in the human body when you lose a large amount of blood and these are bio-chemical processes that can spiral out of control and some of them can get to the point where they are not correctable if action is not taken quickly."

But patients don't have to wait until they arrive at the hospital anymore to start getting life-saving blood and plasma.

That's because St. Joseph's AirMedical paramedics can now administer it to you as soon as they arrive on scene.

"All that our crews have to do when they get a flight, and they take it on every flight because you just never know, is they just go through the ER and they grab the ice chest that has all the blood products in it and they go off on the flight," Rice said.

It's taken more than a year to perfect but now St. Joseph is one of only a handful, not just in the state but in the entire country, with the capabilities to carry blood and plasma on board.

"It truly is a really special thing because there aren't rural communities or communities like this, really in the country, doing this as a norm or as a standard," Rice said.

Dr. deBerry-Carlisle adds, "You're talking about life saving! It's a huge benefit."

A new medical standard paving the way to help save more lives in the future.


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