Blood transfusions take flight on LifeStar

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HARTFORD–A new technology on board Connecticut’s lifesaving transportation may help save more lives.

Hartford Hospital announced on Monday that its LifeStar helicopters now have the capability for crew members to perform blood transfusions while en-route to the hospital.

The first transfusion was performed on a critically injured patient on June 29, just weeks after LifeStar began carrying blood products on board.

On July 7, LifeStar II, which transports patients to Backus Hospital, had blood products loaded up, and just hours later crew members saved another life.

“We are proud to be the first in the state to carry blood products on board the LifeStar helicopter,” said Dr. Kenneth Robinson the program director of LifeStar.  “We are committed to giving a patient in a critical state the best chance of survival with our state-of-the art equipment on board the aircraft, and our highly-skilled crew members.  Now, to be able to transfuse blood during mid-flight only reaffirms our commitment to the patient.”

Before the blood transfusion ability, first responders would use a saline solution to replace any blood lost. Saline is effective in the short term, but doesn’t have oxygen like blood does, which is vital to saving major organs.

Since LifeStar launched in 1985 at Hartford Hospital, more than 30,000 have been transported.