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August 30, 2016

Texas medics cleared to transfuse blood products; make narrow save

By EMS1 Staff

HOUSTON — While packed red blood cells and plasma are common in air ambulances and medical helicopters, the same lifesaving protocols are being extended to ground EMS for the first time.

Cypress Creek EMS is one of the first ground EMS systems in the state permitted to carry and transfuse packed red blood cells and plasma in the field. In addition, Cypress Creek’s Tactical Medic Team is the only such team in the country to carry packed red blood cells and plasma on missions and during training exercises.

The new protocols were approved by Medical Director Dr. Levon Vartanian, and new equipment was installed to store the blood and plasma supplies, including clinical-grade refrigerators and coolers.

The first delivery of blood products occurred Aug. 24 at 5:30 p.m., just nine hours after CCEMS delployed the specialized equipment to do so. Before sunrise, the medical team delivered packed red blood cells and plasma to a trauma patient en route to the hospital. The patient survived, but based on the severity of his injuries, CCEMS believes that he would not have lived if he hadn’t received the transfusion.

The first CCEMS team to use blood products in the field included Field Supervisor Samuel Kordik, Paramedic Jessica McClosky, Joel Kordik, volunteer Jeremy Claxton and James Burton.

Trauma is the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. It’s estimated that about one-third of the 200,000 trauma deaths in the U.S. each year are due to extreme blood loss, which starves the body’s cells of life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients.