News Flash


Posted on: January 30, 2023

Caldwell County EMS Can Now Provide Blood Transfusions in the Field

EMS Supervisor receives blood supply from hospital

Lenoir, NC – For more than two years, Caldwell County EMS searched for a way to provide blood transfusions to patients before they reached a medical center. Now, through a partnership with UNC Health Blue Ridge, Caldwell EMS carries blood on all supervisor trucks.

“Blood has been proven over and over on the battlefield as a frontline defense, and now we’re taking it to the streets,” said EMS Training Coordinator Blake Cochran. “Within the first hour of a trauma or life-threatening hemorrhage, mortality rates are high if not treated or taken directly into an operating room. Blood can prolong that time and significantly increase the potential for survival.”

EMS staff have received training on how and when to administer blood, and supervisors carry O negative blood on their trucks. To ensure blood is not wasted, the temperature is constantly monitored using coolers donated by UNC Health Blue Ridge and is changed out with the hospital every 21 days.  

“We would like to thank our colleagues with UNC Health Blue Ridge for providing this lifesaving resource to the region, and setting the bar for partnerships with their prehospital partner,” said Emergency Services Chief Dino DiBernardi. “Prehospital medicine continues to improve in the region, and the relationships with local hospitals continues to improve patient outcomes by bringing advanced treatments to the field.”

The hospital also collaborates with Burke and McDowell counties to provide blood products to their EMS departments. However, these three departments are among only a few in the state to carry blood on ambulances.

“Our goal is to provide the best definitive care to the citizens of Caldwell County,” said EMS Chief Jonathan Cook. “With the support of UNC Health Blue Ridge, we are better equipped to meet our goal.”

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