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Canton Fire Paramedics Participate in Training in Preparation for Launch of New Field Transfusion Paramedic Program

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March 18, 2024 | MASSACHUSETTS CANTON FIRE DEPT., Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

CANTON, MA - Canton Fire Paramedics selected for the new Field Transfusion Paramedic Program recently completed extensive training alongside their Boston Medical Center (BMC) partners in preparation for the program's launch.

In February, the Canton FD announced the expected launch of a new Field Transfusion Paramedic Program, which is a collaboration between the Canton FD and the BMC Trauma & Acute Care Surgery division and Blood Bank.

The program will significantly advance the treatment of trauma patients by allowing trained firefighters to transfuse Low Titer O Whole Blood (LTOWB) to trauma patients at the scene of an emergency or during transport to the hospital. In cases of trauma, it is critically important that patients receive definitive, comprehensive care for the greatest likelihood of survival. Receiving whole blood before arriving at a Trauma Center reduces the time it takes a patient to receive potentially lifesaving emergency resuscitation, which has been associated with a greater likelihood of survival and a greater chance of receiving definitive care. 

The Canton Fire/BMC program is Massachusetts' first emergency response program providing prehospital whole blood.

On March 2nd, members of the Canton FD selected to become Field Transfusion Paramedics gathered at the BMC for training. The training, guided by the trauma service at BMC, helped prepare paramedics to evaluate trauma patients and deliver whole blood to patients in need of lifesaving intervention prior to arrival at a trauma center.

The paramedics were trained on topics including ABO blood compatibility and the Rhesus (Rh) factor, recognition of negative transfusion reactions, advanced trauma assessments, and recognition of hemolysis or other indications of blood spoilage. They also toured the BMC Blood Bank and participated in hands-on blood transfusion training in the simulation lab at the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Clinical Skills and Simulation Center.

Additionally, Field Transfusion Paramedics have been rotating daily through a simulation lab at Canton Fire Headquarters to continue improving their transfusion skillset, practicing the activation protocol, and honing their patient assessment skills. 

Once launched, Field Transfusion Paramedics will also respond as mutual aid to assist other EMS providers in the region with trauma transports. Geographically, Canton is located where Interstate 95 and Route 24 meet Interstate 93, making it a gateway to Level I trauma centers in Boston.

The Field Transfusion Paramedic Program is the result of three years of planning between the partnering agencies. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently granted a special project waiver to the Canton Fire Department, allowing the program to be piloted regionally over the next year. Additionally, with support from Rep. Bill Galvin, Benjamin Podsiadlo of the state's Office of Grants and Research Homeland Security Division, and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the program received approval for accessibility to public safety agencies. 

This program is supported by federal funding awarded to the Southeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council by the Office of Grants and Research.

The initiative in Canton is led by emergency medicine physician and Canton Fire EMS Medical Director Dr. Mike Valkanas, Canton Fire EMS Coordinator FF/Paramedic Leo Reardon, and BMC trauma surgeon and whole blood researcher Dr. Crisanto Torres. Their efforts are also supported by BMC Blood Bank Manager James Caron and Brockton EMS Medical Director Dr. Dan Muse.

On Dec. 9, 2023, Dr. Valkanas, EMS Coordinator Reardon and Dr. Torres achieved a significant milestone as the first units of prehospital whole blood were successfully transported, stored and made readily available at the Army-Navy football game in Foxborough, with assistance from the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council SWAT Team. The program is expected to officially launch as part of Canton Fire's emergency medical responses on March 18.

Chief Wendell Robery and the Canton FD wish to recognize the dedication and coordination of all involved parties, exemplified by the program's success at the Army-Navy game and the intensive training conducted throughout the program’s growth. The Field Transfusion team looks forward to continued progress and the positive impact the program will have on emergency medical responses throughout the region.

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CANTON FIRE DEPT.Correspondent

No information from the author.