Local community gets chance to join Heroes in Arms program
UMC Health System has partnered with South Texas Blood & Tissue to offer whole blood transfusions for patients in pre-hospital settings as part of the Heroes in Arms (HIA) program.
The Heroes in Arms program provides whole blood to emergency responders, including UMC Lubbock EMS, which can be given to patients in emergencies. UMC Lubbock began carrying the HIA blood units on its EMS vehicles in July.
The HIA program allows EMS vehicles, medical helicopters, and trauma centers to carry O-positive blood with low levels of certain antibodies. Specially trained team members can transfuse the blood to patients in critical situations before they reach the hospital.
“Access to blood when a patient needs it matters most,” said Audra Taylor, Executive Director of Blood Operations at South Texas Blood & Tissue. “Before a patient gets to the hospital, at the scene of an accident or in an ambulance, blood can mean the difference between life and death, healthy recovery or long-term disabilities.”
The Lubbock community and all first responders can become donors and potentially join the Heroes in Arms Program by participating in the upcoming blood drive. The blood drive will be held on August 2nd and 3rd at UMC Main Campus (602 Indiana Avenue). Appointments can be made online at SouthTexasBlood.org/UMCLubbock or by calling 210-731-5590.
“UMC is excited to extend this new service and build upon the excellent care we provide the region through EMS,” said Jeff Hill, Senior Vice President of Support Services & Government Relations at UMC Health System. “By providing blood products real-time while on the scene of an accident, UMC is able to better serve our community and extend value at life’s most critical moments.”
The Heroes in Arms program follows research by the U.S. Army showing improved survival rates for trauma patients who were transfused whole blood, as opposed to blood that has been separated into its three major components (plasma, platelets, and red cells.)
A study published in the Annals of Surgery journal last year confirmed the statistics from the military.
“Compared with BCT [blood component therapy] the use of WB [whole blood] was associated with a 48% reduction in mortality in trauma patients,” the study’s conclusions said. “Our study supports the use of WB use in the resuscitation of trauma patients.”
The Heroes in Arms program allows donors with O-positive blood and low levels of certain antibodies to donate whole blood. UMC Lubbock will be hosting a special blood drive with South Texas Blood & Tissue to test O-positive donors for the HIA program and notifying those eligible to participate in the program.