21st Oct 2013

16 year old Rayan could have been yet another teenager to die from a knife attack in London.  Instead earlier this year, when he was stabbed in the chest and his heart stopped, a London’s Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic were by his side in minutes, to perform open heart surgery and administer a blood transfusion at the roadside, literally giving him life when he was clinically dead. 

In March 2012, London’s Air Ambulance became the first air ambulance in the UK to carry blood and administer blood transfusion to critically injured people, suffering from catastrophic bleeding on scene.   Just over one year on Rayan is just one of 100 patients to have received this procedure.

Within those 100 patients:

  • Almost 45% were in traumatic cardiac arrest — and nearly half of these had their heartbeat restarted, which most definitely would not have happened without blood.
  • Commonest mechanisms of injury were road traffic collisions, stabbings and shootings
  • Average age of patients needing blood transfusion was 35 years old, 80% of these were male
  • Average units of blood transfused by London’s Air Ambulance outside hospital was 2.8 units per patient
  • Average on-scene time with blood transfusion patients was 37 minutes

Dr Anne Weaver, Lead Clinician at London’s Air Ambulance and Emergency Medicine Consultant at Barts Heath NHS Trust, said: “We were confident that carrying blood would make a big difference to our patients but it has exceeded our expectations.  Our team continually push the boundaries in medicine to save lives. London’s Air Ambulance also pioneered pre-hospital roadside open-heart surgery and we have the world’s highest survival rates from this procedure."  

“To have Rayan here today and see him making a full recovery and get back to school is what our work is really all about.  We are a charity and with the support of the communities we serve, this is an example of the lifesaving advances that London’s Air Ambulance continues to deliver.”

 Rayan’s mother, said: “We are so happy because we got our son back.  We cannot find the right words to express how much we appreciate what Dr Anne Weaver and the London’s Air Ambulance team did for him.  It is so distressing to think that he was clinically dead.  If it hadn’t been for London’s Air Ambulance getting to him in time to get his heart started and giving him a blood transfusion, we would not have him with us today. What they do is amazing.  To be able to give blood transfusions and do open heart surgery at the roadside, it’s just incredible. We are really really grateful.  They are angels for me and my whole family.  They saved my son’s life.”

Since London started carrying blood Kent, Surrey and Sussex and Thames Valley Air Ambulances have used London’s operating procedures to deliver this procedure to critically injured people in their areas.

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