The blood is supplied by Lincoln County Hospital and delivered daily by the Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikers. This new service will significantly enhance the pre-hospital critical care that the crew can offer at the scene of incidents or accidents, giving patients a better chance of recovery from some of the most devastating injuries.
Dr David Cookson, the lead doctor overseeing the implementation of the blood on board project, said: “Patients who are bleeding heavily and who have very low blood pressure are often not able to get sufficient oxygen to their vital organs. In these instances, giving the patient blood, as well as other treatments, can help the patient to continue to deliver oxygen around their body which buys them more time before they get to a hospital.”
The move was made possible thanks to a donation from the Henry Surtees Foundation, which has paid for the extensive training and kit required for the crew to undertake the complex procedure which until recently predominantly took place in hospitals.
Blood is carried in specially designed thermostatically controlled boxes, together with a machine to warm it to the correct temperature to administer to patients suffering from dangerously low blood pressure and who have or are suspected to have significant bleeding.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust Transfusion Practitioner Carol Richardson added: “Providing ‘emergency’ blood to the Ambucopter is a privilege and will undoubtedly save lives.
“The work undertaken by the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, the Henry Surtees Foundation, the blood bikers, the ULHT Transfusion Team and our partners Path Links, has been pivotal in the setting up of this vital service in our area. We are so proud to be part of this exciting new venture with the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and believe this enhanced service will give those who need it most the best chance at survival.”
Chairman of Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes Service, Paul Bagwell, said: “To be able to include the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance in our service is an honour, providing daily transport will enable blood to be delivered to those that need it and potentially could be the difference between life and death.”
By returning any unused blood back to Lincoln County Hospital, the bikers ensure that it remains in perfect condition and prevents any wastage of this essential resource. Daughter of the late John Surtees CBE, Leonora Surtees-Martell said: “Thanks to the magnificent fundraising efforts of the Henry Surtees Foundation and its supporters, the Charity has been able to provide £16,394.40 for Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance enabling them carry out roadside blood transfusions.
“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. The service that they provide is vital.”