JeffSTAT Helicopters become First in NJ to Carry Blood For Emergency Transfusions
On Monday, November 12, Jefferson Health’s JeffSTAT helicopters became the first health system transportation service to carry units of lifesaving blood for emergency transfusions. This new service is the result of a collaboration between JeffSTAT – the helicopter program that routinely transports acutely ill and injured patients – Jefferson’s New Jersey hospital-based blood bank, and the New Jersey Department of Health.
Hemorrhage is the leading cause of death in trauma victims, and early transfusions of red blood cells have been known to reduce the chance of death. A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), which reviewed five years’ worth of data, determined that airlifted trauma victims who receive blood transfusions in a helicopter before arriving at a trauma center have a higher chance of survival.
“For trauma patients who have suffered serious injuries, early administration of blood is the ‘gold standard’ of care,” said Scot Phelps, JD, MPH, Paramedic Director with the New Jersey Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services. “Jefferson Health’s JeffSTAT medical helicopter blood program improves the care provided to New Jersey’s residents, and will save lives.”
Jefferson Health – New Jersey Chief Physician Executive Carman Ciervo, DO, FACOFP, said the South Jersey hub of the Jefferson health system is thrilled to now offer this life-saving service. “Administering Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBCs) en route to a hospital can be a truly life-saving intervention in a medical emergency,” Dr. Ciervo said, noting that “in combination with standard IV therapy, these PRBC transfusions during the transport will reduce blood loss so common in trauma patients – and that can make a tremendous difference in outcomes.”
This new service is aligned with JeffSTAT’s mission to “deliver high-quality, state-of-the-art care to patients in the field,” said JeffSTAT Director Guy Barber, MPH. “Our flight crews stand ready 24/7 to respond quickly and support our patients and healthcare partners with timely, coordinated care.” He also noted that JeffSTAT’s Philadelphia-based helicopters began carrying blood for patient transports in April 2017.