Blood Brothers

The Air Force Theater Hospital at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, on Oct. 14 began dispatching blood platelets, critical for blood clotting for treating wounds, to the Navy-run multinational military hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The AFTH, which has been the sole platelet provider in Iraq, is now the first in-theater medical facility to send platelets collected in one operational area to another. “We know for a fact that platelets save lives because we’ve seen it here in Iraq,” said SSgt. Michael Hebron, with Balad’s 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group. He continued, “They should have the same effect in Afghanistan, where they are seeing more combat-related injuries now.” Airmen at AFTH’s platelet apheresis lab devised a special cooler to keep the platelets viable during the flights from Balad to Kandahar, and provided an incubator for them in Kandahar. (Balad report by SrA. Andria J. Allmond)