Air Ambulance In UK First To Carry Blood Units

Last week, an air ambulance became the first to carry blood units on a flight.

This service, which was first developed by the U.S. and British military, allows for on-site blood transfusions instead of having to wait for a patient to arrive at the hospital. Transit is achieved through a refrigeration unit called a “golden hour “ box, which can keep four units of O-negative at a steady 4-degrees Celsius for up to 72 hours. O-negative blood is used since it is universal and can be used for any patient. Also, any unused units can be safely returned to the hospital and are still usable, meaning no units go to waste.

U.S. and British military rescue helicopters carry blood units, while civilian services in Australia carry onboard blood units, signifying just how few air ambulances are doing this. Will more continue to follow?

Let’s take a look at a few stats:

  • According to the London’s Air Ambulance unit, about 90 patients are bleeding to death when they arrive to the hospital.
  • There are about 160 patients who don’t make it to the hospital.
  • That is, on average, 250 patients that could have had a better chance due to having blood available on scene!

Imagine the total lives that could be saved!