Washington County EMS saving lives by carrying blood in ambulances

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BRENHAM, Tex. (KBTX) - A Washington County woman thanked her rescuers Wednesday.

Trudy Paterson nearly died during a horseback riding accident last fall after her horse got spooked.

"I cannot ever ride again and that's a hard pill to swallow. I teach lessons and I like to do anything I can. I was riding in a Western saddle and I hit it so hard. I felt instant pain. That's perhaps when my pelvic bone broke," she said.

The experienced rider made the decision to jump off the horse before it ran into a line of trees.

"One of the other bones severed the artery and then all my angels came," she said.

Washington County EMS was there in minutes.

They used technology in the field to find abdominal bleeding and gave her two units of blood on the spot.

"About 1% of the EMS departments in the country carry blood. We saw this as a real need in Washington County based on our 700 square miles of area that we cover," said Lt. Katie Podeszwa with Washington County EMS.

The blood is kept in a refrigerator. When they receive an emergency call, paramedics make the decision on whether or not they need to take blood on board. If it's not used within 14 days, they send it back to the College Station Medical Center, where it can be used.

Washington County EMS partnered with the College Station Medical Center three years ago to launch the blood program.

June Dossat donated money to Washington County EMS to help acquire the new equipment. She also met Trudy Wednesday.

"The lady has a mission. It's something that she's supposed to get done. There's no other reason for her going through what she did and surviving it thanks to these guys. I'm just so impressed. I really am," Dossat said.

"It means the world. It's huge. This is the best day of my life. Had I not gotten it, I would have died. I'm so lucky that I was in an ambulance in Washington County," said Paterson.