Thursday, 11 July 2013
Portland District Health has taken the lead in developing a new protocol that will secure blood supplies in cases of emergencies in the south-west.

The hospital has adopted a massive transfusion protocol which can be triggered for cases of major trauma or surgical bleeding.

South West Healthcare in Warrnambool and Western District Health Service in Hamilton are also participating in the protocol which is supported by police and ambulance services.

Development of the protocol was prompted by a massive trauma incident in Portland last year when blood had to be accessed from both Hamilton and Portland.

PDH blood transfusion trainer Gaynor DenBoer said the protocol adopted guidelines which could be used across the region.

“It is important to know that we have a uniform response and can follow a protocol that fits the needs of rural hospitals,” Ms DenBoer said.

“We now know what to do when we need additional blood; we know we can tap into other resources and have it transported to whichever hospital is in need.”

The protocol will generally apply to incidents where more than four units of blood are required. There is 50ml of blood per unit.

Ms DenBoer said most country hospitals carried limited amounts of blood. “We try to use blood in an efficient manner because we realise it is a valuable resource. Blood has a shelf life of up to 42 days so it does need to be rotated.”

The protocol covers storage, packing, tagging and transporting of blood. It also describes treatment protocols for instances of severe bleeding.

Ms DenBoer said police and ambulance services had made input into the protocol.

“We have back-up plans to cover all contingencies and we all know what to do in many emergencies that require additional blood supplies.”

PDH has also included protocols covering the transfer of patients from Portland.

STORY BY Rick Bain

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