Helicopter paramedics in southern Interior now have access to re-supply of life-saving blood | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Helicopter paramedics in southern Interior now have access to re-supply of life-saving blood


Access to blood products will buy air ambulance paramedics in Kamloops the time needed to fly patients to the hospital for life-saving surgery.

“We cover a large area with a lot of boat traffic, ATVs, motorcycles and other vehicles on our highways,” critical care paramedic Brian Reichert said in a BC Emergency Health Services media release, Aug. 23.

“It is going to be a game changer for the people we serve.”

Until now, a re-supply of blood products from Royal Inland Hospital weren’t available for the crew on the ambulance helicopter. It’s only been available for critical-care paramedics dispatched from Vancouver International Airport and Parksville on Vancouver Island.

Paramedics will also now be able to get a re-supply of blood from Kelowna General Hospital.

Reichert said blood transfusions are needed in traumatic injuries, but severe blood loss can also happen with some medical conditions.

The blood on board program started this summer and has already possibly saved lives following a car crash in the Interior.

The blood is prepared at Royal Inland and couriered to the Kamloops ambulance station where it’s stored in a fridge. When a helicopter is called out, the blood is put in a special cooler inside the aircraft.

Fresh units of blood are supplied regularly.

“We’re so pleased to partner with Interior Health on this innovative program that will allow our critical care paramedics to give patients life-saving blood transfusions as quickly as possible when minutes and seconds count,” emergency health services chief medical officer Dr. Mike Christian said in the release.

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