Watch the video above: Air ambulance begins stocking blood on board
SASKATOON – STARS air ambulance is the first medical service in Canada to begin stocking blood in advance for transfusions during missions.
With the goal of using the blood during, what emergency personnel have nicknamed ‘the golden hour’, the valuable 60 minutes before a critically-injured patient arrives at a trauma centre.
As a STARS ambulance flight nurse, Jacob Kyrejto works to save lives every week and he’s very pleased with the new initiative.
“If patients have been involved in a large trauma, there’s risk for significant bleeding. With us having blood on board, we can hopefully restore the blood they’ve lost,” he explained.
“Which, in the end, will be the best for the patient.”
At Kyrejto’s base in Saskatoon, two units of O-negative blood are being stored for missions.
Dr. Joseph Blondeau, the Saskatoon Health Region’s head of pathology and laboratory medicine, said the initiative has been in the works for many years.
“It took a bit of time obviously to get all the right people in place and contacted, to be compliant with the national regulations that are necessary to ensure safety of the product,” Blondeau explained.
The blood is stored in a six kilogram insulated thermal cooler, with a monitoring device to ensure proper temperature.
“If the blood isn’t used, it’s on a circulatory cycle,” explained Dr. John Froh, STARS medical director.
“It’s returned back to the Saskatoon Health Region, and it’s checked and used in other patients,” he said.
On Friday, STARS airlifted a 37-year-old man to Saskatoon City Hospital with serious injuries after a two vehicle collision on Highway 4 near North Battleford.
Although a blood transfusion was not needed for the patient, STARS said many victims of vehicle collisions do need blood and every minute matters.
“We are a province where half the population is concentrated in two major cities, and the rest of the population is sparsely spread out,” said Blondeau.
“So having this available to be transported in a life-saving situation is just a great story.”
Last year, STARS ambulance went on 821 missions in Saskatchewan.