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McAlester Regional AirCare becomes approved blood carrier

McAlester Regional AirCare, a critical care air medical program serving McAlester Regional Health Center and working with the Oklahoma Blood Institute, is now approved to carry whole blood on board its helicopter for administration to patients in need of lifesaving transfusions.

Med-Trans Corporation began serving the McAlester area in 2015 under the name McAlester Regional AirCare.

"The added ability to administer blood to patients while in-transit gives the McAlester AirCare medical team another valuable treatment option responding to emergencies where time and enhanced patient care is critical to survival and patient outcomes," said Med-Trans President Rob Hamilton. "For critically injured individuals, access to blood in transit to the hospital could mean the difference between life and death."

"First responders equipped with O-negative blood can begin treatment immediately without concern for a patient's blood type," said Oklahoma Blood Institute CEO and President Dr. John Armitage. "We are so proud to partner with McAlester AirCare and offer the highest standard of care to Oklahomans."

Units of O-negative blood provided by the Oklahoma Blood Institute are stored on the McAlester helicopter in an insulated thermal cooler. The cooler maintains appropriate temperature with a monitoring device. If blood is not used within a prescribed time frame it is cycled back to the Oklahoma Blood Institute where it will be inspected and made available to other patients if approved.

The importance of having the ability to perform blood transfusions is described in the following excerpt from an article in Waypoint AirMed & Rescue magazine:

"Air ambulance medics arriving at the scene of an emergency will in many cases find a patient who has lost a dangerous amount of blood, making every second count between arrival, diagnosis and treatment. Until relatively recently, it was typical for medics to either use a saline solution to replace the volume lost-although this does not replace the oxygen-carrying ability of the shed blood-or wait for blood supplies to be transported from local hospitals by police or ground ambulances, a time-consuming methodology, potentially complicated by a lack of blood supplies at hospitals, or any number of possible hindrances, from heavy traffic to impassable terrain. However, this is starting to change."

McAlester Regional AirCare's Bell Helicopter 407 GX and highly trained flight and medical crews answer calls from the region's first responders and hospitals. The Bell 407 integrates reliability, speed, performance and maneuverability with a cabin configured specifically for air medical flights. It carries a medical flight crew consisting of a pilot, registered nurse and paramedic trained to provide superior clinical care.

Med-Trans is a part of the AirMedCare Network, America's largest air medical transport membership network that provides economical emergency access to the highest levels of care for its subscribers.

BlueSky Business Aviation News | 24th November 2016 | Issue #393