When it comes to helicopter air ambulance services, quality patient care and safety are top priorities. The eight Arkansas Air Evac Lifeteam air medical bases recently made strides in both areas. The bases partnered with the American Red Cross to start carrying blood and blood products on board their aircraft. Francis Lewis, senior program director for Air Evac Lifeteam, said red blood cells and liquid plasma are now available to the medical crews for patients who may suffer from severe blood loss and require aggressive fluid resuscitation in the course of their care.
“We use blood and blood products in the care of patients who require the next step in the fluid resuscitation process as we transport them to a higher level of care,” he said. “Liquid plasma is a great asset to have available, as it assists in clotting for patients experiencing severe blood loss as well as being helpful in the management of a certain subset of specific medical conditions. The concurrent use of red cells and plasma is becoming the preferred treatment for patients experiencing severe blood loss due to traumatic injury.”
Lewis said he is grateful to the Red Cross for partnering with Air Evac in providing access to the blood products, and for sharing their guidance and expertise on the proper storage and management of the products.
“Air Evac Lifeteam made a great investment in order to provide the blood and blood products to our patients,” he said. “This is one more example of Air Evac’s dedication to providing the highest level of care to our patients.”
Joe Zydlo, external communications manager for the American Red Cross Missouri/Arkansas, said as the single largest provider of blood products in the U.S., the American Red Cross is uniquely positioned to respond to demands of the health care system during emergencies.
“The Red Cross is proud to partner with Air Evac Lifeteam,” Zydlo said. “Our mission is similar to theirs — we help save lives, and this is an even faster way to get blood products to patients who need it the most.”
Air Evac Lifeteam has eight air medical bases in Arkansas — Blytheville, De Queen, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Harrison, Mountain Home, Paris and Springdale.