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All in a day’s work for Wollongong Transfusion Laboratory

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27th September, 2022

The Aeromedical Retrieval Team has nothing but praise for NSW Health Pathology’s Wollongong Transfusion Laboratory for the vital role they played in providing blood products to a critically injured patient.

When the Aeromed­ical Retrieval team was forced to acti­vate a Retrieval Trans­fu­sion Pro­to­col (RTP) for a trau­ma patient expe­ri­enc­ing mas­sive blood loss, NSW Health Pathology’s Wol­lon­gong trans­fu­sion team sprang into action.

An RTP is used in rare cir­cum­stances when the three red blood cell units on board have been used but the patient needs more.

With immense respon­si­bil­i­ty on their shoul­ders the trans­fu­sion team made sure the cor­rect blood prod­ucts were avail­able and administered.

The para­medics treat­ing the patient at the scene required a fur­ther three units of blood. The trans­fu­sion team coor­di­nat­ed with mem­bers of the NSW Police who picked up the blood prod­ucts and rushed to the scene.

The para­medics con­tin­ued resus­ci­tat­ing the patient when it soon became clear that even more blood prod­ucts were required. They were start­ing to wor­ry, but then they heard the sirens of Police vehi­cles car­ry­ing more units of blood.

As the para­medics urgent­ly trans­port­ed the patient to St George Hos­pi­tal a fur­ther six units were request­ed with two more units wait­ing at the heli­pad, allow­ing a trans­fu­sion to be admin­is­tered on route to theatre.

The patient was even­tu­al­ly sta­bilised despite los­ing more than his total blood volume.

The treat­ing para­medics went out of their way to praise the pathol­o­gy trans­fu­sion team, par­tic­u­lar­ly Eri­ca and Nathan, for their organ­i­sa­tion and effi­cien­cy that played a valu­able role in sav­ing a life.

This event dra­mat­i­cal­ly high­light­ed the impor­tant role the Wol­lon­gong Trans­fu­sion Lab­o­ra­to­ry team plays in deter­min­ing pos­i­tive patient out­comes each day.

While the focus is large­ly on the hero­ic work of our nurs­es, para­medics and doc­tors, it is impor­tant to cel­e­brate the ded­i­cat­ed lab­o­ra­to­ry staff who work mag­ic behind the scenes.


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