NC county EMS now carrying whole blood on ambulances
Officials say the change will allow life-saving blood transfusions to be administered on scene or during transport
The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.
ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. — An announcement with life-saving potential was made Monday in Onslow County.
Onslow County Emergency Medical Services and The Blood Connection held a press conference Monday morning to announce whole blood will now be used in Onslow County EMS ambulances, allowing life-saving administration of blood to begin before a patient arrives at an area trauma center.
David Grovdahl, division head for Onslow County EMS, said it is a "giant leap forward" for trauma care in Eastern North Carolina, and Onslow County is leading the way as one of the first EMS systems in North Carolina to carry blood and one of only a few EMS systems in the country to carry whole blood.
"This project is a game changer for trauma care in Eastern North Carolina and represents a paradigm shift in how we treat patients moving forward," Grovdahl said.
Until now, Grovdahl said, trauma care has been limited to controlling bleeding and transporting patients to the hospital as quick as possible for continuation of care.
Grovdahl said Onslow EMS averages about 400 major trauma cases a year and having the ability to replace blood volume in a patient severely bleeding as early as possible can significantly improve a patient's chance at survival.
Grovdahl said is typically takes one unit of whole blood to help a trauma patient until they get to the hospital. Supervisor vehicles will be carrying three units of whole blood at all times to ensure it is available to paramedics at trauma calls.
The use of whole blood by Onslow EMS is the latest step in a partnership that began more than two years ago when trauma care took another step forward with the certification of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune as a local trauma center.
One of the things learned in the military-civilian partnership and knowledge of battlefield medical care is the importance of stopping the bleeding in patients early.
Cmdr. Joseph Kotora, Onslow County Camp Lejeune EMS system medical director, said treatment in the first 10 minutes for a trauma patient is critical is improving the chances for recovery and survival.
"What we used to call the Golden Hour and now the Platinum 10," Kotora said in an interview after the program. "Those first 10 minutes are critical."
Those first 10 minutes are likely going to be on scene or in transport to the hospital.
Onslow County EMS is equipped with items such as tourniquets, hemostatic gauze and other techniques to control bleeding.
Through the Stop the Bleed campaign, all county buildings, vehicles and schools have kits to help control bleeding and more than 6,000 people in the county have been trained to use them.
The Blood Connection, a community blood center, hosts blood donations and supplies blood to area hospitals as well as the Onslow County EMS.
Every two seconds, someone requires a life-saving blood transfusion, said Mike Patterson with The Blood Connection.
"We're honored to be a small part of this project and are looking forward to saving more lives in Eastern North Carolina," Patterson said.
Grovdahl said the program is the result of "one system" working together.
"Our EMS system is not one person or one agency," he said. "We are a successful partnership that works hard to provide the highest quality of care to the whole community. We are one team, with one mission, providing exceptional care for our community."
©2019 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)
Onslow County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and The Blood Connection announced today the use of Whole Blood in EMS ambulances. “Whole blood significantly improves the potential of survivability from major trauma” said David Grovdahl, EMS Division Head. “Having the ability to replace blood volume will improve patient outcomes.” Trauma is the leading cause of death for ages 46 and under in the U.S. – yet up to 20% of trauma deaths are potentially survivable. Low Titer O+ Whole Blood or LTOWB, is natural, unseparated blood collected from a donor. It contains all the components of blood that you would find in healthy blood (i.e., red cells, plasma, clotting factors, and platelets). Early administration of blood to severely injured patients has early survival benefit. The use of blood products by paramedics can significantly reduce mortality from trauma. “In today’s EMS setting, it’s uncommon for ground EMS services to carry and use blood components. Most services that carry blood components are helicopter-based” said Grovdahl. “Onslow County EMS will be the first EMS system in North Carolina to utilize whole blood for the treatment of trauma patients in 911 ambulance response.” The Blood Connection The Blood Connection Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Onslow Memorial Hospital Onslow County Emergency Services "Official" FoxNews ABC NBC One News NowPosted by Onslow County Government on Monday, December 16, 2019