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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 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.”