While Oklahoma emergency vehicles have always carried critical medical supplies and specially trained personnel until now, they lacked one vital component to help save lives following serious injuries - whole blood in the prehospital setting. Whole blood is critical in trauma care because it provides all the components of blood: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.
The blood type most needed to help trauma patients is type O positive whole blood, which has been tested for low levels of certain antibodies to make it safe for use with many patients during trauma or other emergency situations when time isn’t available for testing to find the exact blood match.
This type of whole blood can be transfused quickly, started at the site of an emergency event, and carries with it all the critical oxygenation and clotting properties to help support a patient during emergency ambulance transport to a trauma center’s emergency department. Studies have shown that survival rates increase dramatically when this product is administered by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals.
In a press conference on February 15, 2023, Our Blood Institute, along with OU Health, EMS, the OKC Fire Department, and EMSA, announced a partnership to stock certain EMS supervisor/chief vehicles with whole blood. These experienced paramedics are dispatched to incidents in which the need for whole blood is high based on the type of injury and condition of the patient. Providing trauma patients with whole blood during transport can make a marked difference for patients who truly need it.