State Senate Passes Bill Co-Sponsored by Senator Helming Allowing Air Ambulances to Carry Blood and Administer Transfusions

Photo credit: Mercy Flight Central

The New York State Senate has passed Senate bill S.4085A, co-sponsored by Senator Pam Helming, that authorizes air transport ambulance service providers, such as Mercy Flight Central, to administer blood transfusions to patients on helicopters. The bill was subsequently passed in the Assembly and will now be sent to the Governor.

“This is an issue that makes you think, ‘Why isn’t this already permitted?’ It’s an example of an arcane state law that must be fixed,” said Senator Pam Helming. “To me, it’s obvious that we must do everything we can to help save lives and support our air EMS providers. A blood transfusion can be the difference between life and death. And this is especially important to our rural residents who may live far from the nearest hospital.”

New York is the only state in the nation that does not allow medical flight crews to carry or distribute blood during emergencies.

“Mercy Flight Central is dedicated to excellence in the care that we provide and the legislation to allow air EMS to carry blood will have a direct and positive impact on our communities,” said Jeff Bartkoski, President and CEO of Mercy Flight Central. “In the past several years, we have transported many patients in hemorrhagic shock, most of which would have benefitted from the administration of blood products in the pre-hospital environment. The ability to carry and administer blood products while in flight is not only the next step to a higher level of pre-hospital medical care but it will improve outcomes and save lives of the patients that we serve. Thank you to Senator Helming and those who voted to pass this important legislation.”

“I’d like to thank Mercy Flight Central for their service to our communities and for advocating for this legislation that will help them save more lives and ensure the highest quality care possible when people need it most,” Senator Helming added.