Cypress Creek EMS is pleased to announce that we have partnered with the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center to provide a dependable supply of Low Titer Type O+ Blood for our whole blood program.
Our first shipment arrived today. Whole blood is carried by our field supervisors, our Assistant Medical Director Matt Esposito, and our Tactical Medic Team. Matt is one of our Military EMS Fellows from San Antonio. You can read more about the fellowship here.
CCEMS and ESD 48 Fire/EMS in the Katy area were the first ground EMS systems in the country to carry whole blood and we were followed shortly thereafter by Life Flight. In the meantime, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center began supplying medical helicopters all over the San Antonio area and South Texas. They began supplying San Antonio Fire/EMS last October and since then have added several more ground EMS systems in the San Antonio area. At last count, there are ten ground EMS systems who are now carrying whole blood and they are all in Texas.
Because of the way South Texas Blood Center processes donations its whole blood has a longer shelf life, 35 days compared to 21. And, the center has a regular donor base for low titer type O positive whole blood (LTOWB) through its Brothers In Arms program which identifies veterans with low titer blood and gets them to commit to regular donations. Low Titer blood means their are fewer antibodies to conflict with a transfusion recipient’s blood. The use of LTOWB is based on research done by the U.S. Army and the Mayo Clinic. The studies found that type O+ donations from men with lower levels of certain types of antibodies can be used for whole blood transfusions in patients of any blood type.
O Negative is truly universal, but it is extremely rare. Only about 7% of the population has that type. In the beginning CCEMS used O Negative but after having difficulty with supplies, Cypress Creek switched to LTOWB. Lower Titer O+ occurs much more frequently in the population than O negative. It is found mostly in men and is most prevalent in men over the age of 50.
The Brothers in Arms program helps make supplies available when needed. For example, we ordered blood yesterday and it arrived today. CCEMS hopes to build upon the Brothers in Arms program in our area by recruiting first responders and veterans with type O+blood to donate on a regular basis.
A special thanks goes out to South Texas Blood and Tissue Center Chief Operations Officer Elizabeth Waltman for making this new partnership a reality.