Cullman Regional EMS first in state to provide blood transfusions in the field

CULLMAN, Ala. - Cullman Regional’s ambulance service, Cullman Emergency Medical Services (CEMS), is the first ambulance provider in Alabama to provide blood treatment in the field. This enables paramedics to perform emergency blood transfusions on scene and give patients with significant blood loss a better chance to make it to an emergency room.

Not only the first in the state to administer life-saving blood products, CEMS was the first in the state to be certified as a Critical Care Paramedic service, which is the highest-level paramedic license. Critical care paramedics can carry out advanced lifesaving emergency techniques in the field that standard paramedics cannot, such as placing chest tubes and administering advanced medications. CEMS has 13 critical care paramedics on staff.

“Two days after we received our first shipment of blood, CEMS responded to a severe trauma where the patient needed blood immediately. Without it, the patient would have died on scene.” said Dr. Mark Christensen, Medical Director, Cullman Regional Emergency Department.

As part of its licensure to provide blood treatment, CEMS developed protocol and procedures to ensure clinically appropriate storage and use of blood products and has since been asked to share those guidelines with other ambulance agencies in the state that are interested in pursuing their own licensure.

“When we respond to a life-threatening call, our job is to give the patient the best possible chance,” said James Curtis, CEMS Director. “We knew that being able to administer blood would be a game changer for us and our patients, so we made it happen.”

As a Critical Care Paramedic service able to perform blood transfusions on scene, CEMS is one of the most advanced EMS agencies in the state.