The Blood Matters Blog ·

Tulsa Emergency Responders Now Carrying Type O Whole Blood

An exciting new initiative made possible by OBI donors is about to have significant, lifesaving ramifications for Tulsa trauma patients.

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It’s official: Tulsa trauma patients will now have their best-ever chance at survival.

Starting in July, EMSA and Tulsa Fire Department supervisors will be equipped with low-titer Type O whole blood from Our Blood Institute’s incredible donors.

This blood, which contains clotting factors that can help stop bleeding in cases of hemorrhage or shock, is expected to make a monumental difference for patients in immediate need. It also contains low levels of anti-A and anti-B antibodies, making it safe for emergency transfusions to patients of any blood type.

In a joint press conference held late last month by OBI, EMSA, the Tulsa Fire Department, EMS, and the Saint Francis Health System, officials from each organization expressed their optimism with sentiments like "absolutely lifesaving," "a critical milestone," and "an extra chance at living."

Trauma is the leading cause of death in the United States for people up to the age of 45, and the fourth-leading cause of death overall.

Saint Francis Trauma Institute’s Dr. Nathan Powell, who spoke about the concept of a golden hour for trauma patients — a crucial 60-minute treatment window — emphasized that those initial minutes are the most important.

"What we do or what we don’t do, in those first several minutes after an injury, really impacts their survival," said Saint Francis Trauma Institute's Dr. Nathan Powell.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Why are O donors so important?

Tulsa is the second metro to use Type O whole blood from OBI donors on emergency vehicles. Paramedics in Oklahoma City have been carrying whole blood for more than a year and have administered it to 58 patients. Thirty-four of those patients were eventually discharged from the hospital.

"For folks who are losing critical amounts of blood, being able to replace that blood prior to hospital arrival is absolutely lifesaving," said Dr. Jeffrey Goodloe, EMS System for Metropolitan Oklahoma City and Tulsa Chief Medical Officer. "Being able to literally add decades of life back to someone so that they can continue to be a husband, a wife, a mother, a father — it's so important."

O Donors, We Need You!

While we believe this partnership is going to have a profound impact for residents in the Tulsa area, it can only do so if enough O-positive blood is coming in. Summer is an especially difficult time to meet patient demand, so if you're among the nearly 40 percent of the population that has O-positive blood, please consider giving at your local blood center or nearby drive! Because as of today, your blood has even more lifesaving potential.

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