Critical care paramedic Brian Gill is pictured beside a BCEHS helicopter. (BC Emergency Health Services)

Photo Credit: Adam Chan / CTV News

Parksville Air Ambulances Now Have Blood on Board

Time is of the essence

Paramedics who serve VanIsle are now better equipped to respond to emergencies

Nobody wants a blood transfusion in some remote place on VanIsle. But sometimes, somebody really needs one.

Now, people who need life-saving blood transfusions can get one on an air ambulance thanks to a new partnership.

​​Island Health and BC Emergency Health Services blood products are now available on all ambulance helicopters in Parksville, according to a statement from the health services.

Before, the only air ambulances with blood on board were in Vancouver. That meant emergency care was further away.

Kevin Lambert is a critical care paramedic and educator on VanIsle. “Having full-time access to blood products out of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and storing them with our critical care paramedic crews will greatly improve our speed of delivery for isolated Vancouver Island communities, such as Bamfield, Tahsis, or Port Renfrew,” he told CTV News.

“We can arrive more quickly at a scene and start a transfusion much earlier while providing advanced care on the way to a trauma centre.”

Air ambulances will store two units of blood in a temperature-controlled cooler. If the blood is not used within four days, the units will go back to the hospital and be replaced with two fresh units.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to blood transfusions to help save lives,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“This new service means paramedics have access to crucial blood products around the clock, full-time, so they can continue providing high-quality critical care when every minute can make a difference in a life-saving situation on the island.”