BETTER SERVICE: The RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter service now carries life-saving blood supplies on its flights. Dr Andrew Hughes (left) and Shannon Gardner with a pack of blood and the chiller box.
BETTER SERVICE: The RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter service now carries life-saving blood supplies on its flights. Dr Andrew Hughes (left) and Shannon Gardner with a pack of blood and the chiller box. Brett Wortman

Rescue choppers carry blood supplies

THE most precious item in a life-or-death situation now takes a front seat in the Sunshine Coast's emergency helicopters.

RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopters are carrying lifesaving blood, arming paramedics and doctors with the vital supplies in times of emergency.

Four bags of O negative blood are carried on every primary trauma mission as well as some pre-arranged hospital transfers where blood may be beneficial during flight.

No emergency blood stocks have been used as yet, but CareFlight chief medical officer Allan MacKillop said the supplies could be life-saving.

"Blood's something that you carry around a lot and don't really use, but when you finally do, it's crucial," Dr MacKillop said.

"We use it mostly for victims of serious road crashes who are bleeding internally and for other patients who've suffered trauma-type injuries.

"It certainly buys us the time we need to get those people to a hospital and critical care."

The aircraft hangar at the Maroochydore base has been fitted with a specialised, alarmed blood fridge and a transfusion approved "chiller box" has been bought to

ensure the blood is kept in optimum condition.

The Red Cross Blood Service is always seeking more donations to keep up with daily demands.

For details on how to make an appointment, visit www.donateblood. com.au or phone 13 14 95.

THE FIGURES

  • Only one in 30 people give blood, but one in three will need blood in their lifetime.
  • While blood is crucial for crash victims, most of the blood is used to treat people with cancer and other serious illnesses.
  • Every week, Australia needs more than 27,000 blood donations.

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