NYS legislation would let air ambulances store, distribute blood

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Lawmakers from Upstate New York are pushing legislation they say will save lives. The bill would permit air ambulance providers “to store and distribute blood.”

State Senator Michelle Hinchey says New York is the only state in the nation where these medical helicopters aren’t permitted “to carry and transfuse blood.” She says, in rural parts of the state where there are no hospitals, it can take more than an hour for someone to get the services they need. 

“It is so critical that on-the-spot treatments and blood transfusions can be done here in New York for those people who live in more remote areas,” Hinchey said.

“New York State, being a somewhat rural area, especially the Capital Region and outside the Capital Region, there are long transports, so these patients are going for a long time. They have ongoing bleeding, and they’re being resuscitated with salt water, and that’s not optimal,” said LifeNet of New York Medical Director Dr. Luke Duncan.

But, now there’s legislation on the table at the State Capitol to change that.

“That would permit air ambulances to carry blood and blood products and to administer those on flight when a patient requires that treatment,” said Assemblymember Carrie Woerner.

Back in March, a Binghamton man named Travis Flanagan was involved in a serious farming accident that resulted in him having to have both of his legs amputated. While Flanagan was in New York, being close to the border, a Pennsylvania medical chopper responded to the emergency. 

“Had a helicopter responded from New York, it’s likely that Mr. Flanagan would not be alive today to enjoy his beautiful family, which includes two young children with one on the way,” said Assemblymember Donna Lupardo.

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