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Shooting victim is first patient for D.C. Fire, EMS whole blood program

Members of Medic 27, Engine 10 and EMS 2 were the first to use whole blood on a patient since the program started

By Bill Carey

WASHINGTON — For the first time, D.C. Fire and EMS personnel carried out a lifesaving blood transfusion at an emergency scene.

On April 10, the procedure was performed in an ambulance, helping to save the life of a man who had been shot in the northeast area, the department stated in a news release.

An adult male with gunshot wounds was treated by first responders from Medic 27, Paramedic Engine 10 and EMS 2. After assessing him in the ambulance, paramedics confirmed he qualified for a lifesaving pre-hospital transfusion, the department stated.

EMS Supervisor Lieutenant Paramedic Matthew Wood administered a transfusion using low-titer type-O whole blood supplied by the American Red Cross and processed by the George Washington University Hospital Blood Bank, under the leadership of Dr. Xio Fernandez.

This unit of blood was stored in an EMS supervisor vehicle in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Firefighter/Paramedic Logan Dana, EMT Robert Gill and Firefighter/EMT Nero Quiroz were integral to the team that treated the patient and performed the transfusion in the field.

“For patients with life-threatening hemorrhage, rapid blood transfusion as early as possible has been shown to markedly improve a patient’s chance of survival. D.C.’s new Whole Blood Program, launched by Mayor Bowser this year, offers some of our most critically injured patients the best chance of survival. Minutes can be the difference between life and death,” D.C. Fire and EMS Assistant Medical Director Dr. David A. Vitberg said. “D.C. Fire and EMS is a crucial first link in our healthcare and trauma system, and we are providing cutting-edge care to patients in the District with this new tool to save more lives. Please consider donating blood to help sustain this important program.”