New Orleans EMS first in region to carry blood for emergency transfusions

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 3:40 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans Emergency Medical Services (NOEMS) will be the first ground ambulances in the region to carry blood for emergency transfusions for patients with traumatic injuries.

“We did the numbers over a year. There were about 80 to 90 patients that we envisioned that blood could have been given and an opportunity for a difference to be made, so this is a really huge opportunity that we’re excited to tackle,” said Dr. Emily Nichols, medical director for NOEMS.

Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death. Early transfusions have been shown to improve outcomes for patients with major traumatic bleeding.

“When you lose a trauma patient that you think gosh another couple of minutes would have made a difference, it’s really hard. It’s hard to have that conversation with the family. It’s hard for even a seasoned team to see that over and over again,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director for the New Orleans Health Department. “When our team can see that patient coming in with blood hanging and looking a little bit better than we would expect given the injury and know that they’ve got a fighting chance because that makes us think that what we’re about to do really is gonna matter as well.”

The NOEMS has partnered with The Blood Center to begin the program on Monday (Oct. 18). Select paramedics have been trained on how and when to administer the blood.

“New Orleans EMS, along with fire and police have improved patient outcomes with the application of tourniquets on patients with traumatic bleeding to the extremities. The term ‘Golden Hour’ is frequently used in emergency medicine, meaning that the care provided within the first 60 minutes after an injury often has the greatest impact on long-term survival,” EMS officials said.

To find your nearest donor center or to learn more about becoming a donor, visit

In addition to the rollout of blood products, New Orleans EMS will continue their “Stop the Bleed” campaign, teaching bleeding control in the community at no cost. For more details or to host “Stop the Bleed” or any other community education, please CLICK HERE to complete a NOLA Ready training request.

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