Sussex paramedics to use whole blood

County council and Blood Bank of Delmarva ink agreement to save lives
May 26, 2023

Sussex County Council unanimously approved an agreement between Sussex County Emergency Medical Services and the Blood Bank of Delmarva to provide whole blood to paramedics.

Robert Murray, SCEMS director, said research shows that early administration of whole blood has been proven to save lives.

Currently, Sussex paramedics administer saline to replace lost fluids and blood. “There is nothing better than replacing blood with blood,” Murray said.

He said whole blood has been used for critical patients on battlefields for decades.

The Blood Bank of Delmarva will provide and deliver the whole blood to Sussex EMS. A single unit of O-positive whole blood will be stored on all supervisors’ vehicles and dispatched to high-acuity calls where blood is more likely to be needed, Murray said.

“When a patient is literally bleeding to death, whole blood will reset the clock,” he said.

In addition, he said, it gives paramedics more time to get to hospitals or the state’s Level 1 trauma center at ChristianaCare.

According to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, the use of whole blood is a relatively new EMS therapy that should be more widespread.

According to JEMS, hemorrhage remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in trauma incidents. “Whole blood is ideal for pre-hospital use,” according a recent JEMS article.

Murray said it’s estimated the cost for the blood will be $40,000-$50,000.


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