RFDS’ Life-saving Blood Supply

Date published

12 Jun 2020

Blood is a precious resource and plays a vital role in life-saving critical care, maternal and prenatal care, wound care and emergency interventions.

At the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations, our Jandakot base has an on-hand supply of blood, enabling our crews to quickly respond and treat critically injured patients with a blood infusion.

The RFDS WO Jandakot base carries four units of O negative blood (the universal blood type) for use in specific emergency retrievals. This blood is taken on approximately 4 flights a week departing from Jandakot and was used to treat 64 patients last year.

Carmen Estay, Service Support Assistant RFDS WO shares how vital the on-hand stock is to our service, allowing a timely response to critical care situations.

“We have four units of blood available at any given time for our patients who are in an emergency requiring a blood transfusion,” Carmen said.

“It is such an important part of our service, the ability to respond quickly and tend to patients in these situations straight away, providing the best chance of survival.”

Each unit of blood (between 200ml and 300ml) is regularly monitored and extensive data is collected to ensure they are always stored safely at a temperature between 2 and 6 degrees.

“Blood is such a precious resource. Due to its low supply, we have stringent processes to protect the storage of our stock and ensure it’s used safely,” Carmen said.

The Blood units are stored in a heavy-duty fridge at the Jandakot base and when tasked, our crews carry the blood in a special esky for safe inflight transport.

“Our crews take great sense of pride in their work and find the ability to provide such a high level of care in these critical moments extremely rewarding,” Carmen said.

“The blood that we have available on-hand provides lifesaving support to our patients requiring a blood transfusion.”

Sunday, 14 June is World Blood Donor Day, raising awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products.

“I encourage anyone who is able to donate blood to do so this World Blood Donor day - and any day you can - so we can continue to provide this life saving treatment to our patients when they need us most,” Carmen said.

To book your Blood Donation, please visit the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood website: https://www.donateblood.com.au/

Service Support Assistant RFDS WO, Carmen Estay with Jandakot blood store