New Orleans Ambulances to Carry Blood

A New Orleans EMS ambulance
Photo/New Orleans EMS

Liam D Pierce

The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate

(MCT)

Starting Monday, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services will carry blood in its ambulances for transfusions before arriving at a hospital.

The agency has partnered up with The Blood Center to launch the initiative, which it says is the first of its kind in the region.

Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death, and death by bleed-out mostly happens before a patient arrives at a hospital, the agency said. Studies have shown that pre-hospital transfusions can significantly improve a patient’s chance of surviving traumatic injuries.

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Like many emergency services, the New Orleans agency uses the term “golden hour” to emphasize the importance of care within the first 60 minutes of injury. It says its new ability to administer transfusions will help patients.

“This is a monumental occasion as we partner with The Blood Center to administer blood,” said Dr. Emily Nichols, the agency’s director. “Our goal is to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates in patients with traumatic injuries within the city of New Orleans.”

In a city riddled with gun violence — last year, New Orleans ranked second in murder, according to the FBI’s national statistics — these types of transfusions could save lives and lower the homicide rate.

“It’s the blood donated before an emergency that can save a life,” says Dr. Tim Peterson, The Blood Center’s medical director. “By partnering with New Orleans EMS, we’re hopeful more lives can be saved by the simple act of kindness that donating blood is.”

People looking to donate blood may visit thebloodcenter.org for more information.

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