Geisinger Life Flight latest announcements

Geisinger Life Flight blood on board
Geisinger Life Flight's blood supplies are stored in a blood cooler on board the helicopter. Photo credit: Geisinger Life Flight

From milestones to pioneering new collaborations, there’s plenty of good news being announced by US air ambulance service Geisinger Life Flight this week

Since the company began carrying blood on board their air ambulances earlier this year, the emergency medical service has completed more than 30 lifesaving blood transfusions.

“Being able to give blood to a patient before arriving at the hospital saves lives,” said Steve Davis, a flight nurse and supervisor at the Life Flight 4 base in Montoursville. “This has been a year-long process and something we recognised we needed to do to continue to enhance the critical and pre-hospital care our crew members provide every day. By offering this care, we’re adding value to the communities we serve.”

Each of the Life Flight bases are now equipped with blood storage refrigerators that keep blood at the appropriate temperature. Each medical helicopter carries two units of the universal type O blood, which are stored onboard the helicopter in special blood coolers. In addition to these facilities, paramedics and nurses underwent training to learn how to store and pack blood, as well as administer a blood transfusion.

Dr Samuel Slimmer, a Geisinger emergency medicine physician and Life Flight’s Associate Medical Director, commented: “Administering blood to a traumatically injured patient before arriving at the hospital has been shown to decrease shock, reduce the need for blood transfusions in the hospital, and increases survival rates. With the patient better stabilised when they arrive, we’re able to better evaluate their injuries and make sure they’re getting the correct treatment. In many cases, it can speed up the treatment process for patients who are often suffering from critical, life-threatening injuries. It makes a lot of sense, and it’s the right thing to do for the patient.”

In other news, Geisinger has teamed up with technology firm Tempus to develop cardiology diagnostic and prognostic tools using artificial intelligence (AI). The collaboration aims to use the power of machine learning and AI to build new precision medicine tools for cardiology that will enable the prediction of dangerous cardiac events and diseases before they occur, allowing for potentially life-saving intervention.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of patients with cardiovascular disease through the development and application of state-of-the-art technologies,” said Geisinger Cardiac Imaging Technology Laboratory Co-Director Dr Brandon Fornwalt. “Tempus is one of the best in the business at building and translating these kinds of technologies, so we are very excited to work with them. This collaboration brings together complementary areas of expertise unified behind a joint vision of integrating the best technology available to positively impact our patients.”