Boston MedFlight adds liquid plasma to blood product offerings

Boston MedFlight Press Release | August 4, 2021

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 26 seconds.

Boston MedFlight, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that for more than 35 years has provided critical care medical transport to patients in need by air and ground, has begun to carry liquid, never frozen plasma in transports originating from two of their four bases. This initiative is a cooperative venture with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This is a new addition to the Boston MedFlight blood transfusion program that began in November 2019 that enabled the storage, transport and administration of blood products as needed in Boston MedFlight’s ground and air vehicles. 

Boston MedFlight is the first HEMS program in Massachusetts to have liquid plasma transfusion capability. Boston MedFlight Photo

Boston MedFlight is the first Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) program in Massachusetts and one of a few in the country to have this liquid plasma transfusion capability. Plasma is a key part of an individual’s ability to form blood clots with platelets. When an individual bleeds from trauma or other medical problems, they not only lose plasma and the ability to clot, they also consume the factors that cause clotting.  Many smaller community hospitals only have access to plasma that is frozen that requires it to be thawed prior to emergency use. 

“It’s a game changer, “ said Dr. Ali Salim, trauma surgeon and chief of the division of trauma, burn, and surgical critical care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  “It really makes sense that when you’re bleeding, you are losing more than red blood cells. You potentially lose the ability to form clots in your body.  Transfusing plasma as early as possible in trauma restores your body’s ability to create those clots, which will lead to saving more lives.”

“Many thanks to our colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for their assistance in adding liquid plasma to the blood offerings in our vehicles,” said Dr. Jason Cohen, chief medical officer at Boston MedFlight.  “Our nonprofit mission is all about saving lives and knowing that all critically ill and injured patients can have access to these products during their transports will only enhance our ability to care for them.”

The program will be implemented in phases.  Liquid plasma is now available on air and ground transport vehicles out of Boston MedFlight’s Bedford headquarters and its Plymouth airport base.  It will quickly be expanded to its remaining two bases in Lawrence and Mansfield.  

Boston MedFlight is the region’s primary provider of critical care medical transport by air and ground, caring for more than 4,600 patients annually, including the most critically ill and injured infants, children and adults.  As a nonprofit, the organization provides over $5 million in free and unreimbursed care each year to patients in need who have little or no medical insurance.  

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a leading tertiary academic medical center located in Boston.  It is one of the founding consortium partner hospitals of Boston MedFlight and helps ensure a continuum of the highest level of care for all patients Boston MedFlight transports – regardless of their destination hospital or their ability to pay.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Boston MedFlight.

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