Cell Saver Supplies Blood Transfusion Alternative

Kona Community Hospital recently received a state-of-the-art piece of equipment called the Cell Saver through the State of Hawaii’s Trauma Fund.  The machine offers the opportunity to collect, wash, and re-infuse a patient’s “own” blood during an operation.  It returns fresh, high-quality blood of a patient seeking an alternative method to the common transfusion of donated blood.  

Kona Community Hospital is currently undergoing accreditation to be a Level III Trauma Center.  It began the process on January 1, 2010.  In order to fulfill requirements to attain this designation, certain criteria including specific equipment is needed at the healthcare facility.  Therefore, the hospital has been allocated $146,000 through the State of Hawaii’s Trauma Fund for equipment purchases to attain this goal.  A total of six items were purchased, including the Cell Saver which cost under $20,000.  Each and every piece of medical equipment provides improved patient care.  

Since its introduction in 1972, the Cell Saver’s technology has led the industry to become the standard of care.  It is designed for surgeries where medium- to high-volume blood loss occurs.  The blood is self-contained, and in its emergency mode – can go through the cell salvage process in less then 3 minutes.  

This is especially important to Jehovah’s Witnesses who regard blood as sacred.  On the basis of this deeply held core value, they decline treatment with donor blood (red cells, white cells, platelets, and plasma), therefore, do not accept blood transfusions.  For those who are having an operation at Kona Community Hospital, they have the option to decide whether or not this is a procedure they would like to have done in case blood management is needed.  

“Over 100 trauma activations have been completed since we started functioning as a Level III Trauma Center,” commented Rich McDowell, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Kona Community Hospital.  “The quality of care that is being delivered in our Emergency Department is second-to-none, and by being the first hospital on the Big Island to seek this accreditation exemplifies our level of commitment to providing the best care to our community.”  

Wendi Wagner, RN, Kona Community Hospital’s Trauma Program Coordinator, stated, “We are extremely proud to be participants in the state-wide Level III Trauma Center designation process.  Through this process we are able to provide care for our trauma patients in the most efficient and effective manner."  

Founded in 1914, Kona Community Hospital is a 94-bed full-service hospital with 24-hour emergency services that supports the west region of the island of Hawaii.  It is a member of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, a special agency of the state of Hawaii established in 1996.  It is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  Kona Community Hospital is dedicated to providing and enhancing accessible comprehensive healthcare services to the West Hawaii community.
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