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D.C. officials hope whole blood partnership will help reduce deaths

D.C. Fire and EMS and the American Red Cross have partnered to begin the practice of carrying whole blood

By Bill Carey

WASHINGTON — The D.C. Fire and EMS Department and the American Red Cross have announced a partnership that allows fire department paramedics to begin using whole blood.

The partnership expects to help reduce the number of deaths after the District reached a two-decade high in the number of homicides, NBC Washington reported.

Dr. Babak Sarani, chief of trauma at the George Washington University Hospital, said the practice is relatively new for fire departments and comes from lessons learned by the military in combat.

“It is based on the hard lessons learned by our bravest soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines on the battlefield. We have learned that the most common cause of preventable death following injury is blood loss, and the sooner we can start repleting the shed blood, the higher the chances the patient will survive,” Sarani said. “In a major city like Washington, D.C., where traffic determines transport time more than distance, starting transfusion as soon as possible from the moment of injury can literally determine whether or not someone survives.”

EMS supervisors and battalion chiefs will be equipped with whole blood and equipment starting in early February.

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