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DC Fire and EMS Performs First Blood Transfusion in the Field as Part of its New Whole Blood Program

Thursday, April 11, 2024
Paramedics save the life of gunshot victim using donated Whole Blood, the first patient in new program previously announced by Mayor Bowser


April 11, 2024 


Noah Gray (DC Fire and EMS) – (202) 673-3394; [email protected]


(WASHINGTON, DC) On Wednesday evening, paramedics from DC Fire and EMS delivered the first unit of low-titer type-O whole blood to a patient as part of the newly introduced lifesaving Whole Blood Program.

The patient, an adult male who sustained gunshot wounds, was treated by Medic 27, Paramedic Engine 10, and EMS 2 in Northeast. Paramedics and EMTs moved the patient into the ambulance and determined he met the clinical criteria to receive lifesaving prehospital transfusion.

EMS Supervisor Lieutenant Paramedic Matthew Wood transfused low-titer type-O whole blood supplied by the American Red Cross and processed for delivery to DC Fire and EMS through a crucial partnership with the George Washington University Hospital Blood Bank led by Dr. Xio Fernandez. The unit of low-titer type-O whole blood was stored onboard an EMS supervisor vehicle located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Firefighter/Paramedic Logan Dana, EMT Robert Gill, and Firefighter EMT Nero Quiroz were part of the team who treated the patient and assisted with the low-titer type-O whole blood transfusion in the field.  

The patient was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where Dr. Christine Trankiem, Chief of Trauma, treated the patient with her trauma team.    

Dr. David A. Vitberg, Assistant Medical Director for DC Fire and EMS, who oversees the Whole Blood Program, responded to the hospital and conducted a post-incident debrief with DC Fire and EMS personnel involved in the response.

“For patients with life-threatening hemorrhage, rapid blood transfusion as early as possible has been shown to markedly inprove a patient’s chance of survival. DC’s new Whole Blood Program, launched by Mayor Bowser this year, offers some of our most critically injured patients the best chance of survival.  Minutes can be the difference between life and death,” said Dr. Vitberg “DC Fire and EMS is a crucial first link in our healthcare and trauma system, and we are providing cutting-edge care to patients in the District with this new tool to save more lives. Please consider donating blood to help sustain this important program.”
Dr. Trankiem added, “DC Fire and EMS's ability to provide Whole Blood is making a difference and can save lives. We are proud to partner with them in the care of injured trauma patients in the District." 

In January, Mayor Bowser announced the Whole Blood Program which is a collaborative partnership between DC Fire and EMS, the American Red Cross, George Washington University Blood Bank and all the District’s Emergency Departments and Trauma Centers.

To learn more about the life saving Whole Blood program and donate blood during the national blood shortage visit []