Universal Blood Type Now On All Medical Helicopters

Tuesday, July 18th 2017, 10:20 pm
By: News 9

Paramedics often reach for O-negative blood during emergencies because it’s universal.

But in the past, it wasn't always available for all air ambulances in the state.

“They would go out with just salt water. Salt water is not the best because you start to dilute the blood and eventually it doesn’t clot the way it’s supposed to and heal up the bleeding. And it also leaves people short of oxygen carrying capacity. So people can get into shock,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI). 

But after the OBI put out a call to help change the trajectory for trauma victims, Oklahomans donated in droves. Now, the O-negative inventory is big enough to stock all 24 air ambulances in the state.

The hope is to for people to keep giving, so this new standard can be maintained.

“Your blood can be on the site of that trauma, making that difference,” said Dr. Armitage.