Maryland Implements Lifesaving Trauma Response Initiative with Blood on Board Helicopters

Maryland has become the first state to introduce a statewide trauma response initiative that equips state police helicopters with whole blood for emergency transfusions. The partnership, known as “Blood on Board,” involves the Maryland State Police, Shock Trauma, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

In emergency situations, such as car crashes, workplace accidents, or shootings, where immediate medical attention is crucial, the Maryland State Police medevac helicopters often have only seconds to provide lifesaving aid. By carrying whole blood on board, the helicopters now have the ability to perform emergency transfusions, which can be critical in cases of extreme bleeding.

Whole blood is blood that has not been separated into components. It contains all the necessary factors for optimal clotting, aiding in the resuscitation of patients with severe bleeding. So far, the initiative has proven successful, with 21 critically injured individuals receiving field transfusions. Some of these patients may not have survived their injuries without the availability of blood on board.

According to Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief at Shock Trauma, the survival rate significantly drops for individuals in hemorrhagic shock if they reach the hospital with a low blood pressure or proceed to cardiac arrest. With the introduction of blood on board, the survival rate in such cases has improved.

The “Blood on Board” project initially rolled out on May 10, with the Trooper 1 helicopter at Martin State Airport and the Trooper 2 helicopter at Joint Base Andrews. Following its success, the project expanded to include the five remaining Maryland State Police Aviation Command bases in July.

This initiative is a significant step forward in ensuring timely and effective medical care for critically injured individuals. With the availability of whole blood on board state police helicopters, Maryland is setting a precedent for other states to follow, potentially saving more lives in emergency situations.

– Whole blood: Blood that has not been separated into components, containing all the necessary factors for optimal clotting.
– Hemorrhagic shock: A life-threatening condition caused by severe blood loss that leads to inadequate oxygen and nutrient delivery to tissues and organs.
– Field transfusion: The administration of blood products to patients in emergency situations outside of a hospital setting.

Source: Maryland State Police Facebook Page