New Christiansburg EMS service could help save more lives

The department can now provide patients with whole blood transfusions

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Christiansburg EMS is one of the first in Southwest Virginia to offer whole blood transfusions to its patients.

Prior to these services, unless it was aeromedical transport, patients couldn’t receive blood transfusions until they arrived at a hospital.

“Before we were able to provide blood, when somebody had internal bleeding, we would usually give normal saline or like salt water and to try to keep their blood pressure up,” said Christiansburg Deputy Rescue Chief Dustin Williams.

For the past three weeks, the department has used whole blood. The services are primarily for trauma patients and people who live in the Christiansburg area.

Christiansburg EMS is teaming up with a nonprofit called The Blood Connection, which is providing the supply. Williams said the organization will host donation drives. However, they need your help.

“The more people that donate, the more available the blood is gonna be for the community that people live in. So, you never know, you may need to be the one that receives the blood donation or you may know somebody who needs a transfusion for whatever reason, whether it be a traumatic injury or some type of cancer or other medical problem that could need a transfusion,” said Williams.

Williams also said these new life-saving measures allow patients to have better outcomes.

“I think it’s really easy to say, ‘Oh, it saves a life,’ which it does. But even more granular than that is it decreases the hospital stay for the patient,” said Williams.

Meantime, Lynchburg’s fire department is providing similar services.

“I think it’s just something that’s new. A lot of this stuff that comes from the medical community comes from experiences in war. So a lot of what I’m seeing now is being able to provide that blood earlier decreases the amount of blood needed in the long term and also improves patient outcomes,”  said Williams.

About the Author:

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.