OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Emergency crews in Oklahoma City announced the acquisition of a very important tool Wednesday needed to stabilize trauma victims while they are transported to the hospital.

We’re talking about whole blood in EMS vehicles that can be administered on scene. Officials are also urging people to help out by donating type O blood as well.

Emergency vehicles have always had trained medical personnel and critical medical supplies to handle trauma situations. One thing they didn’t have was whole blood in the pre-hospital setting, until now. Experts say it’s going to be critical in administering lifesaving care.

“The odds for a trauma accident victim or a person who’s internally bleeding, surviving have taken a stair step up,” Dr. John Armitage with the state’s blood institute (OBI) said.

Armitage even went as far as to say the innovation is a great day for medical miracles in Oklahoma City. Multiple agencies including the blood institute, Oklahoma City Fire Department, OU Health, the Oklahoma Medical Control Board and EMSA have partnered to stock EMS vehicles with whole blood to administer to trauma patients in the field. Experts like surgeon Dr. Amanda Celii with OU Health said it’s critical because it has red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

“When people are bleeding and injured, you’re not just losing blood, you’re losing other kind of factors that help make your blood thicker,” she said. “Those factors aren’t things that you can easily give quickly. The most beautiful thing about this new innovation, this new product, is that all of those factors are in this one bag.”

It can also be given before they even get to the hospital. But with the innovation comes a plea for Type O blood donations.

“If we’re not getting the units of blood provided to us, then we’re not going to provide that system or that service,” said EMS Battalion Chief Carl Cobb.

The reason they need type O blood is because it can be transfused quickly, is safe to use for most patients and has things that support patients best as they are transported to the hospital.

“It’s excitement for these patients and their families and their loved ones,” said Dr. Jeffery Goodloe. The Chief Medical Officer for the Medical Control Board. “They’re now going to be able to continue to impact in positive ways because of this increased ability to get blood in when and where it matters most.”

Anyone who is healthy and 16 years or older can give blood. Blood can be donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given as often as every seven days and up to 24 times per year. 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and have signed parental permission. 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds as well and people over 18 years old must weigh at least 110 pounds. A photo ID is also required to give blood.

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