CANANDAIGUA, NY (WROC) – A bill has been passed in New York allowing emergency medical planes to carry and distribute blood in the air. Advocates have been fighting for months to pass the legislation promulgated on December 23, making New York the last state in the country to have the capacity.
Erin Reese, program director with Mercy Flight Central in Canandaigua, said it sometimes takes several miles to transport a patient to a trauma center. Even up to 45 minutes in rural areas. She said about 40% of the patients they serve are trauma patients who need blood immediately. But for years, New Yorkers have had to rely only on saltwater transfusions in the air instead of real blood.
âWhen you have a patient who has had a traumatic injury, he needs volume, giving him salt water is not the gold standard, he needs blood products at this point,â Reese said. . âThe patients we transport are often a great distance from a trauma center.
But this new law will make things considerably easier for patients and doctors. âThe bill was first introduced two years ago,â she said. âWhat a lot of other programs have done, so definitely something we’re excited and ready to start doing as well. “
The blood will be refrigerated on the plane and monitored regularly for expiration. Reese says that a recent blood shortage in our area is a concern for the future. But she has faith that this is something the community can step up and help, as the word continues to spread. âWe will work with the blood banks, the Red Cross and we will work to develop a relationship with these agencies,â she said.
Reese said she hopes this new law can only improve patient care. Whether they are in remote areas, rural or not. Every second counts. She also said that Mercy Flight Central in Canandaigua is planning to organize a blood drive soon to help deal with the shortage.