TODAY marks a milestone at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) as it reaches 1,000 days carrying blood on board its helicopters and rapid response vehicles.
Over 130 patients have received blood transfusions from EHAAT’s critical care teams since the charity first started carrying blood products on 19 March 2019.
Laurie Phillipson is Head of Clinical Development and Blood Project Lead for EHAAT. He said: “Previously patients who suffered blood loss were given a saline solution, which although effective, doesn’t carry oxygen or help with clotting. With blood onboard our helicopters and RRVs now carry packed red blood cells of blood group O Negative, meaning they can be used on any patient, and when needed, these are given with plasma, the other major component of human blood.
“Together they enable our pre-hospital critical care teams to provide a blood transfusion rapidly and safely at the scene of an incident. This can be a life-saving intervention for the most seriously injured and is another example of how EHAAT is bringing innovative care to the patient’s side.
The 1,000-day milestone would not have been reached without the support from the laboratory and transfusion team at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) in Harlow, who provide the blood, and the volunteer drivers and bikers of the Essex Voluntary Blood Service (EVBS), who deliver the blood to EHAAT’s airbases at Earls Colne and North Weald daily.
Carol Weller is Chair at EVBS and said:
“Over the last two years, we have all worked very hard to make sure that EHAAT has blood whenever they need it night or day, even throughout the pandemic. It has been an absolute honour for me to work so closely with such an amazing team of men and women who I am proud to call my EHAAT colleagues.”
Blood is replaced daily and replenished as required. It is delivered and stored in special insulated boxes that keep it at a cool temperature for over 24 hours. These are fitted with a data logger that indicates if the temperature is trending outside of safe limits. If unused after 24 hours the blood is returned to the Princess Alexandra Hospital for use elsewhere, preventing any wastage of this precious commodity. When the blood is required, it is warmed to body temperature to make it safe to administer and prevent unnecessary cooling of the patient.
Tracy Nevin, blood transfusion specialist practitioner at PAHT, said:
“We are so delighted to have the pleasure of working in partnership with this wonderful team EHAAT and to have reached this magnificent milestone together in providing emergency blood products at the roadside for 1,000 days. We are committed to supporting this essential service and to be a part of helping make a real difference in patient care.”
“We enjoy working with our EHAAT colleagues and continuously look at ways to improve the service and are excited to continue supporting them on this project. It has been a pleasure and honour to work with such a dedicated team.”
On average it costs £500 to help one patient in need of blood and EHAAT launched its ‘Blood on Board Appeal’ in March this year. The appeal managed to raise just over £23,000, but EHAAT needs continued help to secure blood on board. Please help by making a donation and supporting EHAAT by visiting their website at https://www.ehaat.org. Your support will ensure they can continue to carry blood on board into the future.