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Posted on: June 10, 2019


Trauma Star in Flight

Monroe County Fire Rescue advanced its pre-hospital trauma patient care by adding inflight blood transfusions for critically injured patients on May 9. Just 17 days later, the first inflight blood transfusion was needed after a Memorial Day weekend boating accident.

With a critical injury after being hit by an outboard motor propeller on the water, Osmany Zamora of Miami Gardens was rushed to the Sunshine Key Marina, where Monroe County Fire Rescue was waiting. He was transported to Trauma Star and airlifted to Jackson South with Flight Nurse Jorge Bolivar and Flight Medic Tony Perez.

En route, Zamora had a significant loss of blood and his blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels. Because of the blood transfusion, Zamora was stabilized upon arriving to the mainland hospital. Until recently, restoring blood loss inflight was limited to saline solutions, which will not restore the oxygen carrying capacity of blood in the body.

“We are very grateful for fire rescue and Trauma Star,” said Zamora’s wife Ivon, who was even more thankful after finding out the inflight blood was placed into service two weeks prior. “It saved his life.”

Zamora, while still in a lot of pain, was released from the hospital yesterday. He is also excited to swing by the Trauma Star hanger next time he is in town with Cuban coffee for the crew.

“It's very rewarding to hear when patients have positive outcomes due to the care you deliver,” said Bolivar. “It is what ignites my passion to do what I love every day.”

In rural areas, the role of blood transfusion is even more critical because of the distance to mainland 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.

“It is very possible that we would be telling a different story about this accident if blood wasn’t available on the inflight transfers,” said Chief Trauma Star Flight Nurse Lynda Rusinowski. “The addition of blood on the helicopter gives the flight crew a tremendous tool for stabilizing a patient before reaching a specialty hospital.”

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