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New Castle County boosts resources to EMS services

 New Castle County EMS give a presentation on blood transfusion protocols in the field.
Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media
New Castle County EMS give a presentation on blood transfusion protocols in the field.

New Castle County EMS is now carrying Low-Titer O Positive Whole Blood in their units.

This means patients of any blood type can now receive blood transfusions in the field- an emergency treatment that replaces blood volume loss, increases oxygen carrying capacity, and promotes clotting.

New Castle County follows Sussex County in this initiative. In Sussex, patient transports to area hospitals can sometimes exceed 30 minutes. For critical patients, that can greatly decrease their survivability.

Transports in New Castle County can take up to 25 minutes, but the greatest need for blood transfusions comes from patients experiencing severe blood loss.

“We’re talking about patients that may have a penetrating injury. Whether it's a gunshot wound, or a stabbing, or someone who's in a car accident who is bleeding internally, causing them to be in hemorrhagic shock. That’s our target population,” said Dr. Justin Eisenman, EMS Medical Director for New Castle County.

He adds this is a pilot program, but they hope to expand its capacity as resources become available.

For now, EMS units carrying whole blood will focus on areas in the county that have shown the greatest need for field transfusions.

This includes areas that have seen higher levels of violent crimes, like Wilmington, which saw 106 shooting victims in 2022.

Other EMS services across the county have seen success in increasing the survivability of patients, but it requires the help of the community.

The blood for this program comes from the Blood Bank of Delmarva,, which has been faced with blood shortages exacerbated by the pandemic.

Kristin Frederick, Directory of Laboratories for the Blood Bank, says this is in part due to the decrease in blood drives over the past 3 years.

“We’re starting to come back. Getting back into colleges, getting back into high schools. But we really need the community to step up and donate any way they can.”

The Blood Bank is seeking donations in all blood types. Information on where to find a drive or donation center can be found at

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021