Emergency responders in the region are rolling out a first-of-its-kind program to help treat trauma patients in the field based on lessons learned in a 2017 fatal Loudoun County crash.
Inova Health System, Inova Trauma and Blood Donor Services, and the Northern Virginia EMS Council, in collaboration with the Fairfax County and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Departments, have launched Field Available Component Transfusion Response (FACTR) to provide blood to entrapped trauma patients on the scene.
The agencies say FACTR is a groundbreaking program not available elsewhere in the U.S. that will provide lifesaving training and supplies to first responders, enabling a dramatic increase in the level of care they can provide in the field. The program keeps large-volume massive transfusion protocol blood products in hospital circulation to be made rapidly available to the field when needed.
The FACTR program was a direct result of the September 2017 crash on Evergreen Mills Road south of Leesburg when a passenger car was hit broadside by a food truck with failing brakes. The driver, Erin Kaplan, died at the scene, but her mother and three children, all passengers in the car, were severely entrapped. As firefighters worked to cut the metal away, paramedics determined the patients would need blood before the hours-long extraction would be complete. They called to have additional blood from Inova Loudoun Hospital and StoneSprings Hospital delivered directly to the scene. That decision and the ability to transfuse blood products during the extrication was credited with helping the critically injured family members survive.
After that incident, representatives from Loudoun and Fairfax Fire and Rescue departments, Inova Trauma Center, Inova Blood Donor Services and the Northern Virginia EMS Council began working to create a formal policy and procedure to get blood products to the scenes of similar incidents.
“In situations such as the Evergreen Mills Road accident where patients face extended extrication time, paramedics now have a policy and process in place to administer lifesaving blood products directly on the scene,” stated Keith Johnson, chief of Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System. “Although born from tragedy, the FACTR program is a resource that will save many lives.”
“FACTR is a regional accomplishment available to all fire and rescue services in Northern Virginia. It will serve as a model for blood distribution and accountability. What this program demonstrates is the importance of collaboration across the continuum of healthcare. A patient’s hospital visit truly begins, not with registration, but when EMS arrives on scene,” said Craig Evans, executive director of the Northern Virginia EMS Council. “Thank you to those involved in our journey and for all of the hard work that made this dream a reality.”
Terri Craddock, senior director of Inova Blood Donor Services, said the program also highlights the importance of blood donations. “Inova Blood Donor Services provides blood products to nearly two dozen hospitals and health facilities in the Washington Metro area. The unique FACTR program will allow our donors to save even more lives. Our teams are proud to be part of this initiative for the community. We rely on generous blood donors who donate regularly, up to six times per year, to maintain an adequate, steady supply of blood for patients in our community.”
The program is supported by contributions from the Fredrick D. and Karen G. Schaufeld Family Foundation and Telos Corporation.
“This gift is in honor of the professional men and women of Loudoun and Fairfax who have made it their life’s work to provide care and comfort to our community,” Fred Schaufeld said. “Our only request is that these individuals occasionally take the time to look into their own mirrors to see the angels who walk among us.”
“I can think of no greater privilege than to provide the latest in lifesaving technology to those who so selflessly serve and protect our community,” said Telos CEO and Chairman John B. Wood. “We are proud to support our first responders by bringing a new level of innovation to the region’s EMS services.”