Medical Moment: Treating trauma with whole blood

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 10:15 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - This year, more than 37 million people will be rushed to the ER for trauma.

The most common are falls, followed by car accidents and gunshot wounds.

Now, doctors are taking a procedure that was used on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan to save lives here at home.

Case Jones is up at Dawn working the ranch, riding horses, wrangling cattle and hog hunting.

“We had our thermal scopes, and we were using them to shoot feral hogs,” said Case Jones.

But in the dark of night, his friend accidentally shot him.

“I started running to try to get behind a tree and, he still ended up shooting me,” said Case Jones.

“His liver was almost split in half by the bullet,” explained Scott Sagraves, a trauma surgeon at Baylor Scott & White Health.

Trauma surgeon Scott Sagraves has 20 years of dealing with life and death injuries, but recently, how he’s treated them has changed.

“We now have whole blood for our injured patients,” Dr. Sagraves said.

Traditionally, trauma patients receive donated blood that is broken down into red blood cells or platelets, or plasma. But trauma patients who have lost a lot of blood need it all, that’s called “whole” blood. Studies show it improves coagulation, decreases the risk of infections, and blood-related diseases. After three weeks in the hospital, and some help from his wife Kristen, Case is slowly getting back up to speed and doing what he was born to do.

“With God’s grace, I’m able to do what I’ve always done and had a full recovery,” Jones said.

“For everything we do every day, waking up, you know, driving down the road, getting on a horse, working cattle, it makes us grateful for all of it,” said Kristen Jones, Case’s wife.

Most blood donors are type O, which is a universal donor and can be used on any patient, no matter their blood type.