COLORADO SPRINGS — The semi-annual blood drive at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs continues through Wednesday.
All of the blood donated goes to military members overseas and here in the states.
Captain Annette Mott is the Chief of Blood services who says, “The military has its own blood program, all the blood in theater comes through military blood donor centers. We ship blood at least every four days and we have a weekly quota where we have to get so much in the theater for combat transfusions.”
Captain Mott says it’s those combat transfusions that make the military blood program so critical. “This is the theater blood, this is the down range blood especially if you're O positive or negative. The other blood types we collect are just as valuable, so we want and need all blood types. Those other types will be kept and used locally and regionally.”
O type bloods are so valuable in the field because they are universally compatible with all blood types.
Plasma donations are also being taken as part of the special operations command freeze-dried plasma initiative. Captain Mott explains, “We are collecting plasma for the special operations command freeze-dried plasma initiative. It’s something that you only see in the military blood program right now.”
Once collected the plasma is shipped to France where's it's freeze dried and then sent back. Captain Mott says, “They send it back in a glass vial as a dehydrated cake. Then we can package it and put it in our special operation command medic bags. In this form it’s good at room temperature for two years. They can reconstitute it at the point of injury (in theater) with sterile water so it’s a very versatile and stable product. The alternative would be to keep the plasma frozen, but once it’s thawed, it's only good for five days.”
the special operations command freeze-dried plasma initiative is another example of military medical innovations that may one day be available to civilian first responders.
For now Captain Mott says, “You don't see this outside of the military blood program, this initiative gives everybody a chance to be the coveted blood type.”
You can learn more about the blood drive at Fort Carson (HERE)