OpEd: Bedford-based Boston MedFlight Enhances its Lifesaving Capabilities

First Ambulance Service in Massachusetts to Carry Blood Products in Their Vehicles

For 34 years, Boston MedFlight has provided critical care medical transport to New England’s most critically ill and injured patients with the advanced level of care they require.

The nonprofit is based locally at Bedford’s Hanscom Field. The organization was founded in 1985 as an air medical transport service by a consortium of Boston teaching hospitals, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts Medical Center (Lahey Hospital & Medical Center joined the Boston MedFlight consortium in 2017).

Since its inception, Boston MedFlight has grown from a single helicopter operating from a solitary base in downtown Boston to a comprehensive critical care transport system operating air and ground vehicles from bases in Lawrence, Mansfield, Plymouth, and its Bedford headquarters.

Boston MedFlight to Hold a Blood Drive on Monday, November  25

Boston MedFlight will host a Blood Drive from noon to 6:30 at Hanscom Field – Click this link to learn more

Boston MedFlight coordinates with these leading medical centers, as well as community hospitals and first responders throughout the region, to make the very best decision for the patient. Boston MedFlight’s daily mission is to provide the right vehicle, air or ground, to the right patient at the right time and transport them to the appropriate facility.

Boston MedFlight has cared for more than 75,000 patients since its inception, and today provides critical care transport to more than 4,700 patients annually, caring for each one regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. One-quarter of their patients are infants and children, including fragile premature infants weighing as little as one pound.

With all its vehicles, both air and ground, equipped to serve as mobile ICUs and staffed with a critical care nurse and critical care paramedic, the team is recognized as the best of the best. A new initiative announced recently enhances its world-class lifesaving capabilities and represents a first in the state.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has approved the Boston MedFlight Blood Transfusion Program. This initiative is a cooperative venture with Brigham and Women’s Hospital enabling the storage, transport, and administration of blood products as needed, to selected critically ill and injured patients in Boston MedFlight’s ground and air vehicles.

This provides Boston MedFlight critical care nurses and critical care paramedics with 24-hour immediate access to blood products to be used if needed for patients following life-threatening illness or injury. No other pre-hospital ambulance service, ground or air, based in Massachusetts currently has blood products available in its vehicles.

This initiative builds on models already vetted throughout the country, including neighboring states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Based on historical experience, Boston MedFlight anticipates providing this service to between 120-180 patients each year. The new program was immediately utilized in transports originating out of its Bedford base when in mid-November a patient involved in a serious motor vehicle crash received a blood transfusion during transport from the scene of the crash to a Boston hospital. Blood products will be available in transports from Boston MedFlight’s other bases in the near future.

“With the assistance of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, this is a significant addition to the services that we provide, ensuring that all critically ill or injured patients who need blood or blood products have it available during critical care transport when every second counts,” said Maura Hughes, CEO of Boston MedFlight.


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