Va. first responders can now deliver blood to trauma patients in the field

FACT*R provides supplies and training to first responders so they can administer blood transfusions in the field

By News Staff

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Lessons learned from a deadly crash have resulted in a groundbreaking program designed to help trauma patients in the field. 

Field Available Component Transfusion Response (FACT*R) provides blood transfusions quickly to trauma patients on the scene. 

Field Available Component Transfusion Response (FACTR) provides blood to entrapped trauma patients on the scene.
Field Available Component Transfusion Response (FACTR) provides blood to entrapped trauma patients on the scene. (Photo/Loudoun County)

The program was launched by Inova Health System, Inova Trauma and Blood Donor Services and the Northern Virginia EMS Council, in collaboration with the Fairfax County and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue departments. 

Officials say the program will provide lifesaving training and supplies to first responders, which will increase the level of care provided in the field. 

The program keeps large-volume massive transfusion protocol blood products in hospitals circulation to be made rapidly available in field when needed.

FACT*R was inspired by a Sept. 2017 crash in which a car was broadsided by a truck. The driver died at the scene, but first responders were able to save another woman and three children. Paramedics at the scene determined that the only way the passengers would survive the hours-long extrication process would be with an in-field blood transfusion. Blood was delivered directly to the scene and that move is credited with saving the critically injured family members. 

“In situations such as the Evergreen Mills Road accident where patients face extended extrication time, paramedics now have a policy and process in place to administer lifesaving blood products directly on the scene,” Keith Johnson, chief of Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System said. “Although born from tragedy, the FACTR program is a resource that will save many lives.”

There are currently two other cities Texas that currently have in-field blood transfusion protocol in place.

“FACT*R is a regional accomplishment available to all fire and rescue services in Northern Virginia. It will serve as a model for blood distribution and accountability. What this program demonstrates is the importance of collaboration across the continuum of healthcare. A patient’s hospital visit truly begins, not with registration, but when EMS arrives on scene,” said Craig Evans, executive director of the Northern Virginia EMS Council. “Thank you to those involved in our journey and for all of the hard work that made this dream a reality.”

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