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BannerAir begins carrying blood onboard helicopters

Prehospital blood transfusion will benefit patients with trauma, blood loss

PHOENIX (Apr. 19, 2023) – In an effort to achieve better outcomes for patients in dire medical situations, BannerAir started carrying blood on its hospital-based air ambulance helicopters this month. 

Made possible through Banner Health’s partnership with Laboratory Sciences of Arizona (LSA), a subsidiary of Banner Health that provides oversight for its laboratories, this potentially life-saving service will play a crucial role in the treatment of patients suffering from massive blood loss as a result of trauma or other injuries. 

“Providing immediate life-saving blood as soon as possible improves the outcome for our patients,” said Meghan Shapiro, chief operating officer for LSA Hospital Laboratories. “Our LSA blood bank is excited to partner with BannerAir to provide this valuable resource where and when it is needed most.” 

Each helicopter carries two bags of O-negative blood, the most common blood type needed for emergency transfusions. In order to preserve the blood and ensure none is wasted, the bags are placed into FDA-approved coolers for 72 hours on the helicopters before being returned to the LSA-managed blood bank at the hospital to be exchanged for new products. The temperature of the blood is constantly monitored, and any unused units go back to the hospital for inpatient use.

“This new service offered by BannerAir will be yet another vital tool in how we treat trauma patients who need to be airlifted to a hospital,” said Richard Swedbergh, chief operating officer for Banner Health Emergency Transportation. “Time is often a key factor for patients in these situations, and the ability for them to receive blood in the prehospital setting will make treatment more streamlined and increase the likelihood for more positive outcomes.”

About Banner Health
Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also operates an academic medicine division, Banner – University Medicine, and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health-insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits, and Banner operates a free 24/7 nurse line for health questions or concerns. Patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

About Laboratory Sciences of Arizona
Laboratory Sciences of Arizona LLC (LSA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Banner Health, is part of the largest integrated laboratory network in the nation along with Sonora Quest Laboratories LLC (SQL), which is a joint venture between Banner Health and Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX). LSA and SQL have approximately 3,800 employees and perform more than 97 million diagnostic tests annually throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. This integrated lab network is the market share leader in clinical laboratory testing in Arizona, offering a comprehensive test menu that encompasses routine, molecular, prescription drug monitoring, genetic/genomic, women’s health, and pathology testing services. LSA and SQL are accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, which helps ensure the highest standard of care for laboratory operations. Together, LSA and SQL strive to provide the highest level of quality and services in laboratory diagnosis and testing to their customers, patients, and physicians.  

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Banner Health Medical Care Trauma

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