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Saving lives⎯Mobile blood transfusion protocol launches in Colorado Springs

Posted at 7:12 PM, May 22, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — Paramedics with the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) can now give blood transfusions in the field.

"It's going to be a big impact," said Lieutenant Joey Buttenwieser with Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Through a partnership with UCHealth, they are the first in the state allowed to carry and give whole blood to people who are bleeding out at a trauma scene.

"What we discovered over time, that blood transfusions work best at the point of injury within the first 15 to 30 minutes of the time of injury and blood loss. We need to stop the bleeding and we need to replenish the blood,” said UCHealth Southern Region, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Steinbruner.

Launching Wednesday, two on-duty CSFD Medical Lieutenants will carry blood in their rigs 24 hours a day.

Whole blood will be kept in specialized coolers that monitor and maintain temperatures specific to blood storage. Another medical tool warms the blood as it goes into a patient.

The sooner blood is given to someone who is bleeding out raises the odds of survival and reduces potential permanent damage to organs.

Dr. Steinbruner said, "We recognized in combat, that getting blood to the battlefield at the point of injury saves lives. And we're replicating that here in Colorado Springs, this is an opportunity to really decrease the mortality rate for people dying of blood loss by about 30 to 40%.

As previously reported the funding to launch the program came through donors supporting the UCHealth Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“The UCHealth Foundation, who once they heard about this voted unanimously to support this,” said UCHealth Southern Region, President and CEO, Lonnie Cramer.

The foundation raised just over $250,000 and is working on getting more support from the community to raise another $100,000 needed to complete the initial budget.

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