Along with South Dakota, the Black Hills Life Flight helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in Rapid City, South Dakota, also serve residents in the border states of Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
Carrying blood and plasma during air medical transports is vital for optimal patient outcomes. Patients suffering significant blood loss are at risk for haemorrhagic shock which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport to patients at risk for haemorrhagic shock resulted in lower 30-day mortality and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation.
Adding blood and plasma to Black Hills Life Flight helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft will allow emergency personnel to provide additional lifesaving care. It is one of several safety standards Air Methods has put in place. Nurses and paramedics are required to have practised at least three years in an emergency care or intensive care setting before joining an Air Methods flight crew. Every air medical transport is reviewed and approximately 30 cases each month undergo an in-depth review to ensure clinical quality, education, and overall compliance.
Darryl Crown, Regional Business Account Executive for Air Methods and Black Hills Life Flight, commented: “Black Hills Life Flight is proud to add blood and plasma to flights to enhance our ability to care for patients. The ability to provide patients with potentially better outcomes is another important milestone for Black Hills Life Flight, particularly when serving individuals in rural areas who rely on air transport to quickly get them to the emergency care they need. Administration of blood, combined with rapid air transport, can truly help critically ill or injured patients who otherwise might not survive.”