This medical advancement video looks into how substitute blood is helping to save lives.
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Jennifer Matthews: This is not the kind of ride anyone expects to take. But thousands a year will have to take this ride. Devin Price: Primarily, what we'll see for trauma patients are car accidents, folks who have fallen a great distance, victims of violent shootings, stabbings, assaults. Jennifer Matthews: Paramedic Devin Price gives trauma patients saline intravenously when he gets to the scene. That helps raise the blood pressure. Devin Price: Unfortunately, with normal saline, it doesn't replace blood volume and doesn't transport oxygen. Jennifer Matthews: Two elements that are vital for survival. Now, this new blood substitute called polyheme can offer that. Doctor David Hoyt explains polyheme is blood that's been purified to its simplest form. Dr. David Hoyt: Because it has hemoglobin in it, it allows hemoglobin to carry oxygen, just like your own blood does. Jennifer Matthews: Polyheme is currently under study. Since trauma patients can't give consent on the scene, people living where the trial takes place have the opportunity to wear a wristband that excludes them from participating. Dr. David Hoyt: This current product does not seem to have any risk at all, and it's been studied in over hundreds of patients, so we think it's a very safe product. Jennifer Matthews: It's also effective. In a study of 200 patients, 75 percent who received Polyheme survived at least 30 days compared to just 35 percent of patients who didn't get it. Devin Price: I've only given it once so far. It was great. It had tremendous impact upon the patient's outcome. Jennifer Matthews: Experts say Polyheme could save about 10,000 lives each year. And that, after all, is the goal of emergency care. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.