Stony Brook University Hospital has become the first EMS provider in the state to gain approval as an Ambulance Transfusion Service.
The approval of this initiative, spearheaded by Dr. Stephen Slovensky, EMS director for the hospital, allows for more timely and effective medical treatment for critical patients.
“It means that we can provide better service to the patients,” Slovensky said.
The approval affords paramedics the ability to administer blood components to patients during transport from one hospital to the next.
This is especially important for trauma patients and those with low blood pressure, for whom every moment without access to blood is increasingly dangerous.
Robert Delagi, director of the Suffolk County EMS and Public Health Emergency Preparedness department, praised Stony Brook University for obtaining this new designation.
“Its importance is really more focused on [the hospital] as the tertiary care center, not the county in general,” Delagi said. “This allows the hospital to transport patients with blood transfusion in progress, facilitating the ongoing lifesaving treatment of patients between [the hospital] and other facilities.”
What this ultimately does is reduce the time approaching definitive treatment, Delagi said.
Slovensky — who completed all necessary paperwork, designed the program and worked to ensure that all state-mandated guidelines were adhered to — said the hospital transports many critically injured and sick patients from community hospitals in Suffolk County.
Trips from these hospitals can each take up to an hour. With this new approval, EMS personnel are now able to stabilize and maintain patients’ vital signs.
“It was something that was important for us to do because we move a lot of critically injured, medically sick patients, and we saw it as something that would help improve outcomes,” Slovensky said.
“Prior to this approval, EMS personnel (paramedics) were not allowed to administer blood products to patients in the ambulance,” Associate Director of Operations for Emergency Services and Internal Medicine Eric Niegelberg said in a news release. “This meant that if a patient was being transferred here from another hospital and emergently needed a blood transfusion we had to ensure that a nurse or other appropriate credentialed person was on the ambulance. This could result in delays of transfer for critically ill patients.”
In the news release, Niegelberg credits the hospital’s Blood Bank team and EMS team for their collaboration in making this approval possible.
”The Trauma Center applauds this service enhancement,” Dr. James Vosswinkel, the hospital’s Chief of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, said in the news release, “as it can ensure lifesaving treatments for interfacility transfers who require the administration of blood products en route to the Regional Trauma Center.”