Whole blood can help emergency medical technicians save more lives in situations where a patient is losing a large amount of blood rapidly, CCEMS Special Operations Director Wren Nealy said.
“When you lose blood through hemorrhaging you are bleeding whole blood, so if we can put whole blood back in you that is the best possible solution,” Nealy said.
A serious arterial bleed can lead to death in five minutes, which is about the length of time it takes first responders to get to a scene, CCEMS Public Information Officer Norm Uhl said.
Blood product normally used by EMS units is split into blood cells and plasma, but whole blood is more effective in clotting, Uhl said.
Since it began providing blood product last year, CCEMS has transfused 133 units in 72 cases, including 41 medical patients and 31 trauma cases, Uhl said.
CCEMS is under contract with Harris County ESD 11 to provide emergency medical services. ESD 11 provided $25,000 for equipment needed to hold and transport whole blood, Uhl said. CCEMS will purchase blood from the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
A blood drive and Stop the Bleed tourniquet training session scheduled for Friday were canceled due to inclement weather, but will be rescheduled in the next week, Uhl said. Blood drives are needed to keep emergency vehicles stocked, especially with blood type O negative, which is a universal blood donor type only found in about 7 percent of the population, Uhl said.