Med-Trans, December 13, 2016 - Wings Air Rescue’s four air medical helicopters are now carrying blood and plasma on all flights from their bases in Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. Wings Air Rescue is operated by Med-Trans Corporation.
“We are extremely excited to be working collaboratively with our health system partners at Mountain States Health Alliance and the Marsh Regional Blood Center to provide pre-hospital blood products to the patients that require our services,” said Med-Trans president Rob Hamilton. “Each helicopter carries two units of the universally accepted type O-negative red blood cells and two units of liquid plasma.”
“This is a huge step forward in pre-hospital emergency care and has the potential to impact and save many lives,” said Dr. Mark Wilkinson, medical director of Wings Air Rescue. “The Wings Air Rescue Program is truly a critical care extension of our health system and carrying plasma in addition to red blood cells [and] allows the Wings Air Rescue flight crews to replace important clotting factors that are needed to help control bleeding during severe hemorrhage events.”
The blood is provided by Marsh Regional Blood Center, the largest hometown supplier of blood and blood products in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia for nearly 70 years. The blood products are stored and transported in an insulated transport cooler, designed to maintain the blood products at an appropriate temperature for over 24 hours.
If the blood is not used within a prescribed time, it is cycled back to Marsh Regional Blood Center where it is made available to other patients. Massive hemorrhage (blood loss) is one of the leading causes of death due to trauma, according to the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.
Because of blood’s ability to transport oxygen, blood and blood products remain the fluid of choice for the resuscitation of patients with massive hemorrhages.
Wings Air Rescue has established strong relationships and support with many emergency medical services, fire and law enforcement agencies, as well as hospitals in its service areas. The medical teams are committed to providing continuing education, training and outreach in the communities they serve.
In service to the area for more than 20 years, Wings Air Rescue has transported thousands of critically ill and/or injured patients. The company has four dedicated medically equipped Bell 407GXP helicopters operating from bases in Elizabethton, Tennessee; Greeneville, Tennessee: Jenkins, Kentucky.; and Marion, Virginia.
Med-Trans staffs its helicopters with some of the very best pilots and medical staff in the industry. The pilots must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of flight time and undergo rigorous quarterly training that includes night vision goggles, visual flight rules (VFR), AVFR, Night VFR and mountain flying. Every flight is staffed with a critical care trained paramedic and registered nurse with advanced certifications and years of experience.