CareFlight Emergency Air Medical Service Now Carries  Life-Saving Whole Blood


Transfusing donated whole blood to save lives in the air 

Santa Fe, NM, March 22, 2024 – The TriState CareFlight bases in Santa Fe and Taos are proud to announce they now carry and can administer whole blood onboard every air medical transport. Having whole blood aboard their helicopters allows their industry-leading trauma clinicians to provide additional life-saving care when every minute counts.    

Receiving blood during pre-hospital care is critical for patients suffering from trauma or hemorrhagic shock. It is particularly valuable in rural areas where there may be limited access to donated blood. Since CareFlight carries its own blood supply, its clinicians can administer it in-flight while preserving hospital stock. The crews previously carried packed red blood cells and plasma, and are excited to now carry whole blood which has better clotting capability and delivers oxygen around the body more effectively.   

“The transition from packed red blood cells and plasma to whole blood raises the bar in New Mexico for air medical transport,” said J.P. Martinez, area manager with Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider in the nation and the parent company of CareFlight. “It will positively impact patient outcomes in our communities. I’m proud of our team’s ability to support our communities with their clinical excellence.” 

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons found that whole blood transfusions improve the 30-day survival rate of patients suffering from hemorrhagic shock by 60 percent. The earlier patients receive whole blood, the better their outcomes, showing the significance of pre-hospital transfusion. Moderately to severely injured patients, including those with head injuries, particularly benefit from whole blood transfusions.   

All CareFlight clinicians have at least three years of experience in an emergency or intensive care setting before joining a flight crew. They receive ongoing advanced training, and every nurse and paramedic has access to Air Methods Ascend, an in-person and online training program that allows clinicians to perform at the top of their licensure. Air Methods Ascend is available to medical personnel across the country.