GEORGETOWN, Del. – The Sussex County Paramedics  Blood Drive held Tuesday, October 24 booked 31 appointments and attracted a few more walk-ins as well at Georgetown Fire Company. 

Supervisor, Collections Chelsea Akers and the tech crew collected mainly regular whole blood. But, BBD Director of Laboratories Kristin Frederick and Manager, Hospital Services Jessica Camponelli were at the blood drive to facilitate the collection of seven O Positive Low Titer Whole Blood units. This is only the second time in BBD history we have performed these collections at a mobile drive. (The first occurred at the New Castle County blood drive held in June.)

Since May, BBD has worked with Sussex County Paramedics and New Castle County Paramedics to allow for lifesaving transfusions out in the field, that is to say, right at the scene of a trauma or accident. Studies have shown that the early transfusions can mean the difference between life and death.

As Kristin noted to Sussex County Paramedics Medical Director Dr. Paul Cowan, low titer units can be collected as long as they are returned to the laboratory within six hours. Dr. Cowan, spoke briefly about how the new program has saved lives, just before he rolled up his sleeve and donated his O positive blood for the low titer program.

Kristin brought the Terumo whole blood bags that are used for this type of donation used in the new pilot with New Castle County Paramedics and Sussex County Paramedics, not to mention the fresh whole blood units sent daily to Nemours Children’s Hospital. (Staff uses Fresenius Kabi bags for regular whole blood donations.)

In the Sussex County EMS pre-hospital transfusion program, paramedic supervisors in the West and East each have unit(s) available. So far, more than 20 have been used in the field for Sussex County EMS, while approximately 40 have been used in New Castle County, Kristin said.

In addition to Dr. Cowan, Sussex County Paramedics Quality Manager John Wright, Training Coordinator Jordan Dattoli and Supervisor Russell Hooper were among the donors. Jordan worked for nearly two years to bring this promising method to Sussex County. 

Sussex County Paramedics Director Robert Murray and Deputy Director Robert Mauch visited the blood drive as well.

“When someone is literally bleeding to death, obviously the most important thing that we can do is to stop that bleeding,” Director Murray told Sussex County Council last May. “But once that bleeding has been controlled, we have to replace the fluid.”

Nothing beats being able to do that with blood right at the scene of a trauma.