First time in IDF:
The blood transfusions that will save soldiers' lives

IDF to replace current blood supply with whole blood, significantly increasing effectiveness of battlefield transfusions.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

evacuation of wounded soldier
evacuation of wounded soldier
IDF Spokesperson

In the past week, the Medical Corps has been leading an unprecedented move to replace the blood units in the IDF's operational medical units, and thus Israel will join a small group of countries that use whole blood transfusions.

The new dishes make it possible to save the lives of more soldiers in a combat situation and reduce the resources needed for the blood supply.

So what is the difference between the existing blood units and the new whole blood doses?

Today, blood units are divided into three different groups: platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. Thus, when a person needs a blood transfusion, they perform it using three different bags, which must be carried out by the Magen David Adom and the military medical units under special conditions.

However, in recent studies, it has been shown that whole blood doses of Type O blood, with low antibody rates, ie, blood packs containing all three types of cells in one bag, are more effective in treating the wounded on the battlefield. In addition, the need to transport only one blood bag for each dose allows the operational medical units to carry more blood with less resources and thus save the lives of more fighters.

In the annual ceremony marking the IDF units that were distinguished by blood donations last week, MDA delivered the first whole blood units to the Air Force's rescue and evacuation unit (669). The ceremony was held in the presence of the Chief Medical Officer, Brig. Gen. Dr. Tarif Bader, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Head of the Operational Medicine Department, Colonel Dr. Haggai Frenkel, Head of the Operational Medicine Branch, Lt. Col. Dr. Yaakov Chen who led the project The Medical Corps and other senior members of the Medical Corps.

"When we analyze the medical activity that takes place every week in the IDF, we see that the medical team that meets the wounded in all sorts of descriptions is 669. We know that implementing the procedure in this unit can save more lives," said Lieutenant Colonel S. head of medicine in the Air Force.

"The Medical Corps and MDA cooperate over the years in routine and emergency situations.As part of this cooperation, there is a great deal of work in the area of ​​medical treatment in the field. "The Medical Corps is working at all times to advance the issue of medical treatment for the wounded in general and during the evacuation of the wounded and wounded in particular," said Brig. Gen. Dr. Tarif Bader, Chief Medical Officer. Adding the ability to provide whole blood to the injured during treatment and evacuation is another milestone in the success of human life. "

"The full blood ration was first given to an IDF unit that would approach it close to the point of injury on the battlefield. This is a breakthrough in the field of medicine in the IDF," said Dr. Yaakov Chen, head of the IDF's Operational Medicine Branch, "since it provides all the blood components needed to save the lives of the wounded in the field. The State of Israel is the second in the world to begin using the "whole blood ration" and the IDF has the right to be the body that leads the process and to maintain international cooperation with experts from the United States and Norway together with the Blood Bank and MDA."

In order to ensure medical assistance even in an extreme case in which the first force only has access with the blood units it has brought to the battlefield, the Medical Corps is initiating another step in locating potential blood donors in the operational medical units. Both the replacement of blood units and this procedure are currently being carried out as part of a pilot program, and after sufficient experience has been accumulated, it will be decided whether to expand the reform from Unit 669 to all medical units.

"The IDF has given us a life-saving mission of saving casualties," explained Lieutenant Haggai Frenkel, deputy chief of medical operations and medical operations. "This is an ambitious goal which, in order to realize, we are working tirelessly and leading significant steps to strengthen operational medicine. Bringing whole blood forward to the medical personnel in the field is an innovative and groundbreaking move. The IDF Medical Corps began a pilot program in the air force's rescue and evacuation unit in cooperation with the Blood Bank of the Israeli Air Force and the MDA. We will continue to work to strengthen our operational edge. "

The process of locating the potential donors themselves is also an innovative move. Since the blood donor is not filtered and separated, it is passed on to the patient when they contain the antibodies in the donor's blood. Therefore, a potential donor is only a person whose blood type is O and the antibody rate in his blood is low so that the patient's body does not reject the donated blood, which could endanger the patient's life.

The medical corps, together with the team of the blood classification laboratory at MDA Blood Services, formulated an automatic and computerized method for testing the level of the antibodies of the donor, which will enable the identification of the appropriate donors in the operational medical units even before they donate blood.