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19 December 2023

Horsham patients with severe haemorrhaging will receive life-saving blood much quicker thanks to community generosity and the hard work of the Blue Ribbon Foundation committee.

A brand new Rapid Infuser has arrived at Grampians Health Horsham and the operating suite team has completed specialist training to ensure they are ready to use the $50,000 device. The Horsham branch of the Blue Ribbon Foundation have spent two years on various fundraising projects to raise the money for the device.

BRF chairman throughout the fundraising period, Dale Russell, said it was a bigger project than his committee would normally target.

“We generally aim a bit lower so we can complete a project within a year, but our committee understood the importance for the hospital to have its own rapid infuser,” Mr Russell said.

“It was a big effort, but we had great support from the Horsham community and from our big partners such as Woolworths and ACE Radio.”

Grampians Health Horsham operating suite nurse unit manager Jenny Thomson said the hospital had never owned a rapid infuser.

“This rapid infuser delivers life-saving, warmed blood and fluid at the touch of a button,” Ms Thomson said.

“That’s going to make our job much easier in emergency situations when someone is haemorrhaging heavily.

“We are so grateful to the Blue Ribbon Foundation and to the Horsham community for supporting us and getting this device. It’s only a matter of time as to when it saves someone’s life.”

The device is a specialised type of pump that can very quickly administer fluids such as blood, plasma or electrolyte solutions.  This fluid can be delivered at rates of up to 1000ml/minute.

Grampians Health site director at Horsham Maree Markby said the rapid infuser is extremely portable and can easily be transported throughout the hospital by one person.

“This equipment would be used in the Emergency Department, managing situations where there may have been massive blood loss such as trauma.

“It could also be used in Obstetric environments such as labour wards or the Operating Theatres, to manage massive blood loss for Post-Partum Haemorrhage, emergency surgery for abdominal or vascular injury or other complications from different types of surgery,” Ms Markby said.

“Prior to having the device, rapid fluid infusion occurred using manual methods such as inflatable pressure bags which are slower (a 250 ml bag of blood over five minutes) and run the risk of disconnection and hence loss of vital fluid spilling, or in dire situations, a nurse standing and squeezing the fluid bag by hand which is also slower and very labour intensive.

“This equipment also warms the fluids as they go into the vein which is very important as infusing cold fluids has significant effect on the body and oxygen transfer leading to hypothermia which can further complicate the primary emergency situation.” 

Horsham rapid infuser delivery

Theatre nurse Georgia Barnett shows the workings of the rapid infuser
to BRF Horsham secretary Kelly Schilling, vice chair Dale Russell,
fellow theatre nurse Maggie Clough and Emergency Department
nurse unit manager Odette Richards.