Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance to carry blood on board the helicopter

Tuesday, 18 December, 2012

The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance will carry lifesaving blood on board from today.

Dr Syed Masud, HEMS Consultant for the Charity said: "Trauma is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults worldwide.

"About half of all deaths are due to bleeding or complications resulting from it. Injury, shock and blood loss all contribute to a failure of the body's normal blood clotting mechanisms (coagulation), which then leads to more bleeding.

"Research stemming from military surgery and resuscitation from places such as Afghanistan, have helped us understand that the best replacement fluid for victims of major trauma is blood. The major issue has been carrying blood and delivering it to patients as close to the point of injury as possible. The invention of the specialised "blood cool box" allows the TVACAA to carry and store blood for 72hrs. Blood not used will be recycled within the hospital so there is no wastage.

"Doctors and technicians from the blood transfusion service at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, have worked closely with the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust, to become only the second HEMS/ Air ambulance in the country to carry this life saving initiative.

"This is an excellent example of how expertise within the NHS and the charity have worked together to ensure "gold standard" medical practice for victims of major trauma. "

Sarah Williamson, Fundraising Manager said:" This is an important milestone in the development of the Air Ambulance service we provide for the communities we serve.

"From today the aircraft will carry 2 units of blood permanently and our on-board Doctors will be able to give blood to patients on the roadside"

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