TowerDIRECT Paramedics first in state to carry blood for patient transfusion

Team helped to create the state-wide training for other EMS agencies interested in providing this service.

Tower Health announced recently that TowerDIRECT ambulances in the Reading and Phoenixville areas will be the first in the state to carry blood products for patient transfusion. The TowerDirect team will also be the first paramedics in the state to provide this life-saving service, and the ambulances will be available to all regional County 911 agencies as a resource.

TowerDIRECT began carrying blood on its Critical Care Truck (CCT) in Reading in April 2023. On the CCT, the blood transfusion is performed by a pre-hospital nurse. “We saw first-hand the positive impact this therapy can have for the survivability of our patients,” said Herbert Schiffer, DO, Emergency Medicine physician and TowerDIRECT Medical Director. “We knew we wanted to expand the service and to do so would need to develop a process for our Paramedics to be trained.”

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Currently, TowerDIRECT’s 50 paramedics have been trained and are qualified to administer blood in a pre-hospital environment for patients in hemorrhagic shock. In addition, TowerDIRECT team members helped to create the paramedic training that will be adopted statewide for other EMS agencies interested in providing this service.

Patients requiring transfusion could include those suffering from severe hemorrhagic shock, gunshot wounds, stab wounds, critical injuries from a motor vehicle accident, OB/GYN bleeds, severe internal bleeding, or other forms of penetrating trauma or blunt force trauma. The ambulance will carry type O blood products, which can be safely received by every patient.

In recent years, blood centers across the U.S. have faced critical shortages due to an increase in demand and a decrease in donors. To ensure the success of blood services, Tower Health encourages the community to donate blood to their local blood banks, such as Miller-Keystone Blood Center.

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To be eligible to donate blood, you must be 16 years of age or older, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Donors must also provide valid identification. Parental consent is required for 16-year-old blood donors. Individuals are eligible to donate whole blood every 56 days.

“Miller-Keystone is a wonderful partner to Tower Health and we are thankful for their ongoing support so our hospitals are able to provide life-saving care to our communities,” P. Sue Perrotty, Tower Health president and CEO, said.

TowerDIRECT, the system’s non-profit ambulance company, provides emergency 911 response to residents in 19 Berks and Chester County townships and boroughs. In addition to responding to 911 calls, the TowerDIRECT team provides medical care at community events, such as parades, football games, and other large public gatherings.

If you are interested in a career with TowerDIRECT, visit Careers.TowerHealth.org and search for the keyword “#Direct” to learn more or to apply for available positions.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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