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City air ambulances to carry blood

City air ambulances to carry blood

London Air Ambulance is to become the first fleet in the UK to carry blood on board its aircraft and cars.

» Aviation - UK | Wednesday, March 7, 2012 • The Press Association

It is hoped the blood will help medics save more lives at the scene of an accident before a patient is transferred to hospital.

Its helicopter and rapid response cars will carry a box with four emergency units of O negative blood which can be given to people from any blood group.

Around 160 people in the capital die at the scene of an accident each year, with a proportion of these dying from major blood loss.

These accidents are most often road crashes but also include people falling from heights, railway injuries and industrial incidents.

Every year staff from London Air Ambulance process around 100 "code reds" which involve alerting a hospital that it needs to have blood ready for a patient suffering severe blood loss.

Being able to administer blood at the scene could save some of these lives.

At the moment London Air Ambulance teams use saline but this is not an ideal emergency fluid because, unlike blood, it does not carry oxygen.

If the emergency team does not use the blood on board its aircraft, it will be returned to storage at the Barts and the London NHS Trust so it is not wasted.

Dr Anne Weaver, lead clinician for London's Air Ambulance, said: "We are a charity and with the support of the communities we serve, this is an example of the life-saving advances that London's Air Ambulance can deliver."

 The Press Association

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