RAC Rescue helicopters to carry blood as Red Cross calls for more donors

Painless: Josh Lyons tells me he and colleagues undergo not only intensive training but clinical hospital placement to get more exposure to the practice. Photo: Blayde Grzelka

Painless: Josh Lyons tells me he and colleagues undergo not only intensive training but clinical hospital placement to get more exposure to the practice. Photo: Blayde Grzelka

It is indeed the best biscuit I’ve had in a long time, very generous with the chocolate chips, and it only cost me seven minutes of my time.

I’ve just finished donating blood and as I brush the crumbs from my shirt, I’d like to urge you to do the same. It doesn’t hurt a bit and if you’re worried about needles, don’t be: think instead of the three lives you might save.

The news this week that the RAC Rescue helicopters will start to carry blood – a first for WA paramedics – prompted me to make a visit to my local blood donation centre where in addition to the warm and very capable staff I met critical care paramedic Josh Lyons of St John Ambulance.

Paramedics have long been able to provide fluid to stabilise injured patients, but the most effective method of treating traumatic blood loss is with a blood transfusion.

“Seriously injured patients will now have the benefit of receiving blood at the scene or en-route to hospital, greatly increasing their chances of survival,” Josh said.

“We need blood and blood products to assist with traumatic injuries so I encourage those who have ever thought about giving blood to do it.”

The helicopters will stock O negative blood which can be given to all patients, and while I’m disappointed mine won’t be airborne – I’m B positive – not a drop will be wasted. All blood donated is used within 42 days and if it can’t help save a life in WA, it’s shipped to wherever in the country it’s needed most.

Jessica Willet of the Red Cross Blood Service said that one in three Australians will need blood or blood products in their lifetime.

“Every week in Bunbury we need about 230 people to donate,” she said.

“But as we head into winter our appointments in the coming weeks are still almost half empty, so to help meet demand we’re calling on people to donate at their nearest Donor Centre.”

Josh and colleagues at St John’s are making things interesting by participating in the Emergency Services Blood Challenge which has them competing with the police, fireys and SES to see who can donate the most. 

Challenge accepted, and I hereby declare the 2016 Journalists’ Blood Challenge open.

To donate call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au

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