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Surry County EMS giving blood transfusion in the field

SURRY COUNTY, N.C. — Surry County Emergency Services has enacted a new blood transfusion protocol which allows trained critical care medics to perform blood transfusions in the field.

EMS director John Shelton says severe blood loss normally requires blood transfusions which are done at trauma centers.

But for Surry County, the nearest trauma centers are in Winston Salem about 45 minutes away, according to Shelton.

He hopes the new system will help cut that time down drastically.

“Now, we'll be able to administer blood therefore further increasing their chance of survival," Shelton said.

Under the new protocol during an emergency, a Surry County EMT or a police officer can check out blood from the blood bank at Northern Hospital.

The blood is then rushed to medics in the field for the transfusion, a system designed to only take a few minutes.

Officials say under the system, they use “O negative” blood which can be used on all patients, no matter their blood type.

"This is a significant advancement in the ability to save lives," Shelton said.

The new blood transfusion protocol was approved by the state and local medical director on September 1st.