Atlantic Canada gets new blood transfusion program for critical care

In collaboration with Nova Scotia Health Authority’s transfusion medicine, Emergency Health Services (EHS) LifeFlight launched an on-the-go blood transfusion program.

EHS LifeFlight is a component of emergency medical services with critical care teams that can be deployed to treat and transport ill or injured patients.

The new blood transfusion program is the second of its kind in Canada, and the first in Atlantic Canada.

“It’s sort of the gold standard for patient treatment and patient care,” says EHS LifeFlight senior manager Colin Flynn.

It allows EHS crews to carry blood products on their adult missions, instead of rushing to a referring hospital for supply.

Blood is a precious commodity, says Flynn.

Having to use a hospital’s supply after every emergency “would leave that hospital with potential shortage until they can get resources.”

Most importantly, it means patients in need of blood will be able to receive it immediately.

“When patients are losing blood, the absolute best thing to replace that loss with is blood,” says Flynn.

The EHS crews, that can travel on helicopters, a fixed-wing aircraft and ground ambulances, will carry two units of O-negative blood on their missions.

These will be safely stored and swapped out at NSHA’s transfusion medicine every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Everything the crews don’t use will be utilized in hospitals.

The blood products are provided by Canadian Blood Services.

Flynn says the EHS is encouraging everyone who is eligible to donate blood.

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