Woman thanks first responders for whole-blood transfusion

First responders said Tiffany Kieschnick-Rivas would not be alive if she had not received a whole-blood transfusion when they arrived on scene


By News Staff

SAN ANTONIO — A woman who survived a vehicle crash due to a whole blood transfusion in the back of an ambulance thanked the first responders who saved her life.

KSAT reported that a San Antonio Fire Department crew gave Tiffany Kieschnick-Rivas a whole-blood transfusion when her car crashed after she suffered a medical event and said she would not have survived if the transfusion had not been an option.

Kieschnick-Rivas suffered multiple neck and back fractures, broken bones in her face and ribs and a punctured spleen.

“I thought for sure she was done,” paramedic Jason Aguilar said.

“I would not be here without them,” Kieschnick-Rivas said. “By the time the AirLife (helicopter) had landed, we had already given her a whole unit of blood. She started to wake up.”

Fire department officials said seven of its EMS units are equipped with coolers and blood warming devices that enable them to carry whole blood. Responders said the transfusion technology has been used 56 times since the program started in October.

Kieschnick-Rivas was given a medal by SAFD Chief Charles Hood for her bravery and survival.

“You're a hero, a true hero,” Hood said.

Kieschnick-Rivas said the first responders are the real heroes.

 “I would not be here without them,” she said. “I just feel like I'm back for a purpose. If I can help them get the word out about whole blood to save more people, I'm on board.”

Kieschnick-Rivas’ father, Charlie Kieschnick, paid first responders back for saving his daughter by donating money to the city so the department can equip one more ambulance with whole blood.

“I'm doing it for her kids and my grandkids,” he said. “It's just something I feel is very important, that every ambulance in San Antonio and the whole country needs to be equipped with.”

 

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