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Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua D. Croxton, the blood coordinator for 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), carries a box of blood to the Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, flight operations tent so it can be shipped to a forward operating base, July 16, 2011. Croxton, a Niceville, Fla., native, restructured the way blood is distributed throughout Helmand province, Afghanistan, which resulted in approximately a 30 percent decrease of wasted blood.

Photo by Sgt. Rachael K. A. Moore

Saving blood, saving lives: 2nd MLG blood coordinator changes blood distribution

14 Jul 2011 | Sgt. Rachael K. A. Moore

The Marines and sailors of 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) are known as “warriors sustaining warriors.”  They ensure troops at forward operating bases and combat outposts have the supplies they need to continue combat operations.  One sailor made a change to a routine resupply, which resulted in approximately a 30 percent decrease of wasted blood.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua D. Croxton, the blood coordinator for the 2nd MLG (Fwd.), restructured the way blood is distributed throughout Helmand province, Afghanistan, June 1, 2011.

“We had blood getting destroyed because it wasn’t being used,” explained Croxton, a Niceville, Fla., native.  “I had to find out how we could save or use the products to the best of our ability, while keeping the products at an acceptable level to maintain readiness at our Role I Shock Trauma Platoon and Role II Forward Resuscitative Surgical System facilities.”

Croxton, who has worked with the American Red Cross Blood Donation Program and Armed Services Blood Program in the past, had no problem diving in when this issue came to light.

“I’ve learned many people don’t want to donate because they think blood is wasted or not used,” explained Croxton. “I wanted to debunk that thought as well as save lives with the blood we have on hand.”

With those intentions, Croxton began researching the amount of blood that was expiring at outer-lying forward operating bases, which came to an average of 100 units of blood.

“I cannot say exactly how many lives the blood can save,” said Croxton.  “One Marine could need all 100 units, or 100 service members could need one each.  It just depends on the injury.

“There is no set amount given to any patient, but I think it’s safe to say any life saved be it one or one hundred, is one or one hundred that get to go back home,” Croxton added.

After he completed his research, Croxton proposed an idea that would bring blood products from Role I and Role II facilities back to Camp Bastion’s Role III facility.

“We’re bringing the soon-to-expire blood products back to Bastion because the majority of the surgical patients come through there,” explained Senior Chief Petty Officer William Brown, the Medical Operations Leading Chief Petty Officer with 2nd MLG (Fwd.).  “They have a higher blood product usage rate so they’re more likely to use the blood than the more distant FOBs.”

The change in distribution wasn’t dramatic; in fact it’s very similar to a routine resupply.  A routine resupply is conducted by requesting blood products from Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, who receives the blood from service members in Afghanistan or organizations in the United States.

“The difference is ‘when’,” explained Croxton.  “Now, what we do is ask for the resupply sooner than later.”

Normally the blood would be returned to Camp Bastion for disposal, once it expired.  Now it comes to Bastion’s Role III facility before expiration and gets used.

“This is going to help increase the survivability of the [service members] who sustain any degree of bodily injury or traumatic blood loss,” said Croxton.  “It’s going to give them the blood they need to return home to their families and friends.”

“This change optimizes the blood product we have not only in our area of operation but in theater,” concluded Brown.  “It really does cut down on wasted blood products.”


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