RIH now providing blood units for transfusions on board BCEHS Air Ambulance – Kamloops News

Blood now in the air ambulance

Ambulance patients who need life-saving blood transfusions will now have easier access to the care they need thanks to a new partnership between Interior Health and BC Emergency Health Services.

The agreement means that blood products from the Royal Inland Hospital will still be available on the Kamloops-based BCEHS air ambulance. Emergency resupplies will also be available from Kelowna General Hospital, where many trauma patients from the inside end up.

“This is going to be a game-changer for the people we serve,” said Bryan Reichert, critical care paramedic and acting air ambulance chief based in Kamloops.

“We cover a large area with a lot of traffic from boats, ATVs, motorcycles and other vehicles on our highways. For us, having a blood product for someone who has had an incident will save us the time we need to get them to hospital and surgery to get the help they need.

Previously, pre-hospital blood was only available on air ambulances based in Vancouver and Parksville.

“At BCEHS, we’re always looking for ways to improve pre-hospital emergency care for British Columbians, whether they’re in Kamloops or Kootenay,” said BCEHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mike Christian.

“We are thrilled to partner with Interior Health on this innovative program that will enable our critical care paramedics to give patients life-saving blood transfusions as quickly as possible when minutes and seconds count. »

Reichert said blood products are most often needed for trauma patients, but some medical conditions also cause significant blood loss.

The blood is prepared at the RIH and couriered to the air ambulance station in a refrigerated carrier. When dispatching the helicopter, the blood is transported on board in a secure cooler. Twice a week, the unit is replenished with fresh blood.

If not used, the blood is sent back to the hospital.

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