June 10, 2016
Air ambulance for Burnham-On-Sea area gets life-saving upgrade

The distinctive yellow air ambulance that is used across the Burnham-On-Sea area has been given a vital life-saving upgrade this week.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has this week announced an intiative which will enable patients to receive blood products at the scene of incidents.

Emergency blood transfusions are usually given to patients who suffer life-threatening bleeding caused by major trauma or acute medical conditions.

"40% of trauma deaths are due to bleeding, so being able to carry and administer blood products to these patients before they get to hospital could be a matter of life or death," said a spokesman.

"Of the 20 air ambulance charities across the UK, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance joins nine others who now carry blood products on board their aircraft and rapid response vehicles."

In a bid to ensure that patients in extremis have enough blood to keep them alive until they reach hospital, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance will carry four units of O type red blood cells, unlike many others who only carry two.

The Charity will become one of four air ambulance charities in the UK to carry a combination of blood and plasma and the only air ambulance charity in the South West to do so.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, added: "To the lay person, the decision to carry blood in the Air Ambulance seems very straightforward. However, in reality, it takes an enormous amount of careful consideration and detailed planning by a number of organisations to make it happen."

"Bringing together the experience and expertise of the Air Ambulance, Dorset County Hospital, SWASfT and Devon Freewheelers and the generous support of the Henry Surtees Foundation, epitomises what can be achieved through good collaboration. The whole really is much more than the sum of its parts and our patients will bear witness to that in the years to come."

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