How blood transfusions delivered by emergency responders could change lives

Major car accidents, gunshots and even childbirth can all be times when someone may require a blood transfusion.

However, emergency responders in Katy said things like traffic can stand in the way of patients getting to the hospital in time to get life-saving blood.

In parts of Cypress and Katy, EMS units now have the ability to give blood transfusions on the way to the hospital.

Chris Davis claims it saved his life in February.

Davis said he could not recognize his shooter during an alleged robbery gone wrong.

“[He] said ‘give me your wallet’ and I could feel the gun against my head,” Davis explained the scene before he was shot nine times. “I lost part of my stomach, a spleen and a kidney.”

Assistant chief with Harris County ESD 48, Eric Bank, said his fire department, which covers parts of Fort Bend and Harris County, are some of the only emergency responders able to get blood to patients on the spot when a hospital or Life Flight may not be nearby.

“[We] prefer to fly with the traffic but that's not always available to us so that's why we felt that the blood products were good for point of injury care,” Bank said.

Bank developed the program for the Katy area based on military medicine that transfuses blood to soldiers. He said this practice is as safe as what patients receive in the hospital.

“It's as close as you can get to replacing your own blood because it's truly whole blood that hasn't been processed. It still has platelets in it, it still has clotting factors in it, it's been used for a long time in the military,” Bank said.

Davis said he believes blood brought to him saved his life when he could have died on the drive to get it.

“I think if they wouldn't have, I wouldn't be standing here today because I was losing it faster than they could put it in,” Davis said.

Davis said he is now going through rehab and expected to walk without a cane again.

Bank said they anticipated cases like Davis’ gunshot would be the most common use for blood from EMS. However, Bank said the condition they’ve most commonly responded to is women delivering babies at home.