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Air ambulances to carry blood products for 1st time in Kansas, Missouri in 30 years

Sky-high prices for air ambulances hurt those they are helping
Posted at 9:05 AM, Jun 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-26 10:05:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Air ambulance helicopters operating in Kansas and Missouri will carry blood products for the first time in 30 years.

The Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City (CBC) is partnering with HealthSTAR ONE to supply the air ambulances with blood, which can be used for blood therapy to help save the lives of patients suffering from traumatic blood loss.

Olathe-based HealthSTAR ONE, LifeSTAR of Kansas in Topeka and EagleMed in Wichita will all carry O+ whole blood — the universal donor — as part of the partnership, according to CBC.

In a news release, CBC said that the program will be particularly beneficial for rural communities that are "further from trauma centers and require longer travel time."

“Blood transfusions have the power to save lives and this new program with HealthSTAR will allow patients in critical condition to get the care they need while en route to trauma centers,” CBC Vice President Patsy Shipley said in a statement.

The blood will be stored in FDA-approved coolers during the flights.

“Without having to wait until arriving at a trauma center, whole blood on our aircraft will provide cutting edge, lifesaving treatment to critically injured patients right when they need it most,” said Dr. Bryan Beaver, EMS fellow director and HealthSTAR ONE medical director.