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September 30, 2016

NC paramedics to begin performing blood transfusions

By EMS1 Staff

SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — North Carolina paramedics have begun conducting blood transfusions, a procedure that could potentially save lives in near-death situations. 

When responding to trauma calls with a lot of blood loss, Surry County EMS Director John Shelton said the first hour in treating a patient is critical. 

“That 60-minute time frame, from the time the person is injured to when we can get them to a trauma center, is very strong and significant in what the outcome is going to be,” Shelton told WFMY.

Since the procedure was implemented this month, paramedics have already had two situations in which blood transfusions were ready to take place. 

“Being able to administer blood in the field is going to significantly improve their chances of survival with the types of injuries that we run on a daily basis,” Shelton said. 

During calls where paramedics and EMTs think a transfusion may be necessary, they will contact their supervisor or police, who will retrieve the needed blood from a local hospital.

First responders in Surry County are the first in the state to administer blood transfusions, and Shelton said the only other EMTs they know of also doing them are in Texas.