West Virginia

Department of Health, Department of Health Facilities, and Department of Human Services

Department of Health
Department of Health Facilities
Department of Human Services

West Virginia Becomes First State to Develop Protocols for the Administration of Whole Blood on Ambulances


Since West Virginia became the first state in the country to provide statewide protocols for the administration of whole blood on ambulances, the Department of Health (DH) is pleased to announce two counties are currently providing the service to residents. 

Cabell County EMS started offering the service in November of 2023, and in March of 2024, Harrison County also began carrying whole blood on ambulances. 

“For patients experiencing significant blood loss from a trauma, every second matters. I’m pleased to see West Virginia leading the country in this effort that will undoubtedly save lives,” said Cabinet Secretary Sherri Young, DO, FAAFP, MBA.

The Department of Health’s Director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services, Joseph Ratliff, said the state has orchestrated education throughout the state’s EMS regions that will allow agencies coming to these counties to receive mutual aid for their patients in need of blood products. 

“Bleeding is often an early cause of death when it comes to trauma patients, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Ratliff. “I’m pleased to see these two counties stepping up to answer the call by providing this lifesaving service to residents.”

Ratliff added that paramedics delivering whole blood on ambulances in these two counties are specifically trained to administer the transfusion to those in need. “Administering whole blood to trauma patients within the golden hour of a trauma can significantly improve their chances of survival. Whole blood transfusions will help restore a patient’s blood volume and clotting function much faster than traditional blood component therapy.” 

Blood donations can assist in expanding this program to other parts of the state. To make an appointment, donors may download the Red Cross Blood Donor App and utilize Rapid Pass which speeds up the time it takes to donate by allowing prospective donors to fill out the questionnaire online. Donors can also follow the progress of their donation through the app, from the time they give blood to the lifesaving services it may provide. Donors may also make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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