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Whole Blood on Ambulances
July 09, 2024

St. Luke’s Emergency and Transport Service (SLETS) is now able to carry whole blood on its specialized critical care transport (CCT) ambulances.


“Our Critical Care Transport teams comprised of an experienced critical care pre-hospital registered nurse, a critical care paramedic and our highly trained EMTs are a natural fit to provide this service,” Chris Zukowski, BSN, RN, of St. Luke’s Emergency and Transport Services, said. “Having whole blood will be another tool that our team can use to save lives.”

St. Luke’s SLETS CCT whole blood program follows a recent update by the Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services to its Advanced Life Support Protocols. The update allows paramedics throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who are specially trained, credentialled and approved by their local EMS Council's Medical Advisory Committee to carry blood and/or blood products in their ambulances.


“With whole blood readily available on the Network’s SLETS CCT ambulances, this allows the nurses and paramedics on the CCT team to quickly stabilize critically ill or injured patients who are suffering from hemorrhagic shock,” Zukowski explained.

Whole blood is valued by EMS teams because all of its components – red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma – are present. The first and most common use is for patients involved in traumatic-related incidents causing massive blood loss.

The CCT ambulances primarily transport patients between St. Luke’s University Health Network hospitals.