Inflight Blood Transfusions
TRAUMA STAR CREWS NOW HAVE BLOOD ONBOARD FOR INFLIGHT TRANSFUSIONS
Monroe County Trauma Star is advancing pre-hospital trauma resuscitation by adding inflight blood transfusions for the most critically injured patients.
Trauma Star flight crews arriving at emergency scenes, in many cases, find a patient has lost a life-threatening amount of blood. Until recently, restoring blood loss inflight was limited to saline solutions, which will not restore the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood in the body. One Blood is providing the O-negative blood for Trauma Star that can be used universally in any needed recipient.
“Every second counts between arrival at the scene and treatment at a trauma center," said Monroe County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Steve Hudson. "This essential advancement is innovative and will provide better outcomes for some of our most critical patients."
A February 2018 article in The Journal of Emergency Medicine said trauma is the leading cause of death for individuals under 46 years old, and uncontrolled bleeding remains the number one cause of preventable injury death.
“The addition of blood on the helicopter gives the flight crew a tremendous tool for the stabilization of injured or ill patients,” said Chief Trauma Star Flight Nurse Lynda Rusinowski. “By carrying the products onboard, it allows the patient to receive a treatment that ordinarily would not be available until arrival at the specialty hospital.”
In rural areas, the role of blood transfusion is even more critical because of the distance to trauma centers. The flight time from Lower Keys Medical Center to the three closest trauma centers, Kendall Regional Trauma Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital South, and Jackson Ryder Trauma Center, is 50-to 55-minutes.
FIRST INFLIGHT BLOOD TRANSFUSION WITH NEW PROGRAM
Monroe County Fire Rescue advanced its pre-hospital trauma patient care by adding inflight blood transfusions for critically injured patients on May 9, 2019. Just 17 days later, the first inflight blood transfusion was needed after a Memorial Day weekend boating accident.
With a critical injury after being hit by an outboard motor propeller on the water, Osmany Zamora of Miami Gardens was rushed to the Sunshine Key Marina, where Monroe County Fire Rescue was waiting. He was transported to Trauma Star and airlifted to Jackson South with Flight Nurse Jorge Bolivar and Flight Medic Tony Perez.
En route, Zamora had a significant loss of blood and his blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels. Because of the blood transfusion, Zamora was stabilized upon arriving to the mainland hospital. Until recently, restoring blood loss inflight was limited to saline solutions, which will not restore the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood in the body.
“We are very grateful for fire rescue and Trauma Star,” said Zamora’s wife Ivon, who was even more thankful after finding out the inflight blood was placed into service two weeks prior. “It saved his life.”
Zamora, while still in a lot of pain, was released from the hospital yesterday. He is also excited to swing by the Trauma Star hanger next time he is town with Cuban coffee for the crew.
“It is very possible that we would be telling a different story about this accident if blood wasn’t available on the inflight transfers,” said Chief Trauma Star Flight Nurse Lynda Rusinowski. “The addition of blood on the helicopter gives the flight crew a tremendous tool for stabilizing a patient before reaching a specialty hospital.”