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Posted on: May 9, 2019


Trauma Star helicopter at a bridge accident

Monroe County Trauma Star is advancing pre-hospital trauma resuscitation by adding inflight blood transfusions for the most critically injured patients. 

Trauma Star flight crews arriving at emergency scenes, in many cases, find a patient has lost a life-threatening amount of blood. Until recently, restoring blood loss inflight was limited to saline solutions, which will not restore the oxygen carrying capacity of blood in the body. One Blood is providing the O-negative blood for Trauma Star that can be used universally in any needed recipient.

“Every second counts between arrival at the scene and treatment at a trauma center," said Monroe County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Steve Hudson. "This essential advancement is innovative and will provide better outcomes for some of our most critical patients."

A February 2018 article in The Journal of Emergency Medicine said trauma is the leading cause of death for individuals under 46 years old, and uncontrolled bleeding remains the number one cause of preventable injury death.

“The addition of blood on the helicopter gives the flight crew a tremendous tool for the stabilization of injured or ill patients,” said Chief Trauma Star Flight Nurse Lynda Rusinowski. “By carrying the products on board, it allows the patient to receive a treatment that ordinarily would not be available until arrival at the specialty hospital.”

In rural areas, the role of blood transfusion is even more critical because of the distance to trauma centers. The flight time from Lower Keys Medical Center to the three closest trauma centers, Kendall Regional Trauma Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital South, and Jackson Ryder Trauma Center, is 50-to 55-minutes. 

There are no out-of-pocket costs for Monroe County residents who use the life-saving service.