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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Mercy Flight and ConnectLife launch new blood program

This summer, Mercy Flight will begin to carry Type O whole blood on all air ambulance flights. The blood, supplied by ConnectLife, will be used for patients who have suffered severe blood loss through trauma or illness and require aggressive fluid resuscitation, Mercy Flight said during a press conference Tuesday.

This change results from a December bill co-sponsored by state Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, ranking member of the Senate Standing Committee on Health. The bill allows air ambulance personnel greater opportunity to save lives.

“It is estimated that one-third of patients need blood during air ambulance transport, but until now were forced to wait until reaching a hospital to receive it,” Mercy Flight said in a press release.

Gallivan said this public health law update was long overdue.

“Allowing medical flight crews and EMS providers to transport and administer blood is common sense, and could be the difference between life and death, especially for people

living in rural areas far from a hospital,” said Gallivan. “I congratulate Mercy Flight and ConnectLife for their partnership on this important initiative.”

Specialized equipment will be added to the Mercy Flight helicopters and bases to meet blood storage and temperature requirements. Now more than ever, it will be important for the community to donate with ConnectLife to ensure there is blood available for these emergency situations.”

Dr. Michael O’Brien, Mercy Flight associate system medical director said. “Today, our new blood transfusion partnership with ConnectLife allows our flight crews to provide hospital-level interventions at the scene using locally donated blood products when minutes matter.”

ConnectLife Chief Operating Officer Kevin Gramlich said, “ConnectLife is proud to partner with Mercy Flight in this new endeavor to help save more lives through air ambulance blood transfusion. It is important that we provide the blood needed for our community’s most critical patients and we encourage all Western New Yorkers who are eligible to come out and donate.”

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