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20 March 2019, 17:27 | Updated: 20 March 2019, 17:30
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance has today started carrying blood supplies on board its helicopters and Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs).
This major development will provide a significant improvement in the care that can be provided to patients.
Being able to give a pre-hospital transfusion at the scene of an incident could be a life-saving intervention for patients suffering significant bleeding and blood loss.
It will reduce the time lost in having to take a patient to a hospital to receive blood.
Patients who have suffered blood loss are currently given a saline solution, which doesn’t carry oxygen or help with clotting of injuries.
EHAAT’s helicopters and RRVs will carry packed red blood cells of blood group O Negative, meaning they can be used on any patient.
When required, these will be given with plasma, the other major component of human blood.
Together these can form an effective replacement for patients who have lost blood.
Based on its current caseload the charity anticipates that it will need to provide blood products around once a week.