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Kelowna Trauma Patients Aided with Air-Ambulance Blood Bank

Grant Provides Access to Blood Supply for Air Crews in Rural British Columbia

A pair of $20,000 grants have gone towards maintaining a consistent supply of blood for air ambulances crews operating in rural Kelowna, Canada.

The "Blood on Board' program has been slowly growing after expanding into Vancouver Island in March of last year. Prior to the program, pre-hospital blood was simply unavailable to paramedics operating throughout the Vancouver Island, Okanagan area, worsening patient outcomes by missing a valuable tool. The new grants will go towards a pair of hospitals in the area for the express support of trauma patients in-flight, where flight crews will gain a dedicated storage, transport, and maintenance for a continuous, on-site blood supply. The system, once installed, will allow flight medics, doctors, and nurses to maintain an ongoing blood transfusion capability, constantly replenished with fresh stock.

Dr. Mike Christian, Chief Medical Officer with BC Emergency Health Services, said the change would do much for patients in crisis.

“This program is a game-changer as it will allow our critical care paramedics to give trauma patients life-saving blood transfusions as quickly as possible; these are situations when timeliness is crucial."

“While the numbers of the program have been lower than anticipated in the Interior and Okanagan, it has added critical capacity for critical care for when patients need it. Partnerships like this throughout British Columbia significantly benefit patient quality of care and we’re so pleased to receive funding from the RIH Foundation and KGH Foundation to expand this to the Interior and Okanagan.”

“We are excited to be involved in such an innovative program that supports patients in the Interior,” says Melina Moran, Director of Grants Management with KGH Foundation. “The capacity for longer-term benefits is now in place and we’ve seen some initial success which fosters further confidence in the health-care system in our province.”

“We are thrilled to support the BCEHS-KGH/RIH Prehospital and Transport Blood Transfusion Program. By ensuring paramedics in our region have around-the-clock access to blood services, regional trauma patients on route to Royal Inland Hospital will receive the medical attention they require much faster; this could make all the difference when saving a life,” says Heidi Coleman, RIH Foundation CEO.



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