VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A new program rolling onto the streets of southside Hampton Roads may be able to save lives and lower the murder rate.
The Tidewater EMS council is about to put whole blood in the field to give trauma patients infusions before they get to the hospital.
Currently, local first responders are limited in what they can do for victims of shootings, stabbings and bad car crashes.
“Essentially all we do, we start an IV so we can keep a vein open and drive really fast to the hospital,” said Virginia Beach EMS Chief Ed Brazle.
That is about to change. Tidewater EMS Council Executive Director David Long told WAVY, “They’ll be carrying this portable blood cooler which actually stores the whole blood.”
Two EMS supervisors in each of the five southside cities will have it.
“This takes the gold standard of care out of the emergency room and puts it out into the field,” said Brazle.
A sensor monitors the blood temperature and through an app will alert the provider if it gets too warm.
“For major trauma patients it statistically can increase their chance of survival considerably,” Brazle said.
Research shows up to 25% of trauma deaths are potentially survivable.
Long said the program is already saving lives in other cities. “They talked about the fact that they reduced the murder rate in New Orleans because of the people they were saving.”
While you can’t put a price on a life, the program will cost about $250,000 in the first year to buy equipment and blood. Once the equipment is purchased, Long estimates it will cost about $150,000 a year after that.
The initial roll out of the program is scheduled to take place in October in Virginia Beach, with planned expansion to other regions.
Click here to learn more about the program and how you can support it.