Air Ambulance adds vital blood transfusion service

After months of preparation and training, Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance crews are now able to carry out emergency blood transfusions.
Dr David Cookson accepts a blood delivery from one of the Blood Bikers.Dr David Cookson accepts a blood delivery from one of the Blood Bikers.
Dr David Cookson accepts a blood delivery from one of the Blood Bikers.

The service’s ambucopter will carry blood on board as part of its life-saving missions, becoming one of only six air ambulances nationwide to do so.

The change will enhance pre-hospital critical care at the scene of incidents or accidents, giving patients a better chance of recovery from devastating injuries.

Dr David Cookson, the lead doctor on the project, said: “Recent advances in availability and affordability of devices to keep and administer blood mean that it is now possible for blood transfers to take place outside of a hospital environment.

Crews have been given additional training to carry out the complex procedure.Crews have been given additional training to carry out the complex procedure.
Crews have been given additional training to carry out the complex procedure.

Patients who are bleeding heavily and who have very low blood pressure are often not able to get sufficient oxygen to vital organs. Giving them blood buys them more time before they get to a hospital.”

The move was made possible by a £16,400 donation from the Henry Surtees Foundation which has paid for the extensive training and kit required for the crew.

Leonora Surtees-Martell, daughter of former F1 champion John Surtees, said: “My father spent most of his life chasing time round the race tracks of the world.

“He knew that every second counted and none more so than for the Air Ambulance when accidents or illnesses occur.”

Blood will be transported between the hospital and airbased by the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes service.Blood will be transported between the hospital and airbased by the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes service.
Blood will be transported between the hospital and airbased by the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes service.

Blood will be transported in thermostatically controlled boxes, together with a machine to warm it to the correct temperature to administer to patients.

It is being supplied by Lincoln County Hospital and delivered daily by the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikers to the airbase.

Any unused blood will be returned to the hospital to prevent any wastage.

Paul Bagwell, chairman of the Blood Bikes service, said: “To include the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance in our service is an honour and potentially could be the difference between life and death.”

For more information, visit www.ambucopter.org.uk.