Use blood IV tubing for trauma patients

An important piece of equipment to include in the care of the multiply injured patient is intravenous blood tubing, says Renee Holleran, RN, PhD, chief flight nurse and clinical nurse specialist at Cincinnati (OH) Medical Center. "Today, there are multiple types of tubing available, particularly when infusion pumps are being used," she notes. "The patient who has been injured or who has lost blood, for example, a GI bleeder, may require blood or blood products."

Blood tubing has two ports: one for the blood, and one for normal saline. "Many types of tubing also come with a pump, which can be used to increase the rate of fluid administration during resuscitation," says Holleran. "Two ports also allow for the administration of other medications, such as antibiotics." However, you cannot administer medication in a port that blood or blood products have been given through, she notes.

Placing blood tubing on patients who will need to be transferred assists in saving time preparing the patient for transport because tubing will not have to be changed, she notes. "Blood tubing is better for the multiply injured because it has two ports (two solutions may be given if needed), a filter, a pump (for rapid fluid resuscitation), and saves time if blood or blood products are immediately required," says Holleran. "Even though there may be an additional cost involved with the use of this tubing, its use may far outweigh its cost in the injured patient."