Northwest Texas Healthcare System’s LIFESTAR Helicopter Now Carrying Blood and Plasma

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Northwest Texas Healthcare System’s LIFESTAR Helicopter Now Carrying Blood and Plasma

The area’s longest serving critical care air-medical program, LIFESTAR, is excited to announce the addition of blood and plasma carrying capability aboard the LIFESTAR I helicopter for patients needing lifesaving transfusions. LIFESTAR is a service of Northwest Texas Healthcare System, serving as the region's transport in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

The blood products are stored and transported in an insulated transport cooler, designed to maintain the blood products at an appropriate temperature for over 24 hours. The helicopter carries two units of the universally accepted type O-negative red blood cells and one unit of plasma. If the blood is not used within a prescribed time, it is cycled back to Northwest Texas Healthcare System where it is made available to other patients. Massive hemorrhage (blood loss) is one of the leading causes of death due to trauma, according to the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.

"This is a huge step forward in pre-hospital emergency care and has the potential to impact and save many lives," said Mark Crawford, CEO at Northwest Texas Healthcare System. "The LIFESTAR Program is truly a critical care extension of our health system and carrying plasma in addition to red blood cells, allow LIFESTAR’s flight crew to replace important clotting factors that are needed to help control bleeding during severe blood loss events," Crawford added.

Northwest’s LIFESTAR medical transport is part of the nationwide AirMedCare Network®, which offers memberships for families and individuals in the Texas Panhandle. Residents are encouraged to visit AirMedCare Network and learn about the benefits of membership.