Emily Rice Published

Whole Blood Transfusions In Ambulances Could Save Lives In Two W.Va. Counties

The interior of an ambulance is shown with a stretcher cleaned and a blue chair for a paramedic.
More life-saving methods are available on ambulances in two West Virginia counties.
Viewfinder/Adobe Stock

The state Department of Health announced Tuesday that West Virginia is the first state in the country to provide statewide protocols for the administration of whole blood on ambulances.

According to the Department of Health’s Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services, Joseph Ratliff, whole blood transfusions help restore a patient’s blood volume and clotting function much faster than traditional blood component therapy.

Ratliff said administering whole blood to trauma patients can significantly improve their chances of survival.

“Bleeding is often an early cause of death when it comes to trauma patients, but it doesn’t have to be,” Ratliff said. “I’m pleased to see these two counties stepping up to answer the call by providing this lifesaving service to residents.”

Cabell County EMS started offering the service in November of 2023, and in March of 2024, Harrison County also began carrying whole blood on ambulances.

Paramedics delivering whole blood on ambulances in these two counties are trained to administer the transfusion.

To expand the program, the state needs more blood donations. To make an appointment, donors may download the Red Cross Blood Donor App and use “Rapid Pass” which speeds up the time it takes to donate by allowing donors to fill out the questionnaire online.

Donors may also make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS 1-800-733-2767.