Whether U.S. armed forces are on the frontlines of war or responding to a domestic disaster, it is critical to ensure the right blood is available at the right time. At an event hosted by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics in the hangar bay of the USS Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego, Col. Audra L. Taylor, director of the Army Blood Program, and Lt. Col. Jason B. Corley, deputy director of the program, provided riveting insights into the military’s preparedness and response to emergency situations around the globe.
In the event of an emergency, AABB immediately convenes a meeting of its Inter-organizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism. The Task Force assesses the need for collection and/or transportation of blood during a disaster and communicates to the public regarding the status of the blood supply. The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is charged with the same responsibilities as civilian counterparts like AABB, with an additional readiness mission for providing trauma support on the battlefield. Its mission is to provide quality blood products and support to military healthcare operations worldwide.
The presenters discussed ASBP’s blood management tool (BMT), a web-based platform designed to assist Department of Defense (DoD) blood activities for management of general inventory and mass casualty events. The DoD conducts research on general areas of hemorrhage control, fluid resuscitation, blood products, transfusion and pathophysiologic responses to traumatic hemorrhage, with a focus ranging from basic and discovery through clinical development. The goal is three-fold:
- To provide improved methods, drugs and devices to stop bleeding, restore lost blood volume and mitigate the consequences of hemorrhage;
- Reduce mortality by up 25 percent overall; and
- Provide more efficacious blood products for DCR and move products further forward on the battlefield.
The presenters explained guidelines for blood and tactical combat casualty care that specify the preferred resuscitation fluids of choice for casualties in hemorrhagic shock, as well as Joint Theater Trauma System Clinical Practice guidelines for type-specific whole blood. They offered insight into the pre-screening procedures for US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) whole blood collection.
Looking to the future, Col. Taylor and Lt. Col. Corley described the need for continued expansion of Low Titer Group O Whole Blood (LTOWB) production by ASBP donor centers. Another area of focus is to establish efficient processes for blood product and donor tracking within SOCOM and maintaining and expanding the current pre-screening program, with an eye toward standardizing pre-screening throughout the Army, Navy and Air Force Blood Programs.
A video of this presentation will be available in 2018 on Ortho On Demand. Register at www.orthoondemand.com for this and other educational content.