An Abertay University student’s work on a major science project could help save the lives of people seriously injured in major accidents.
Applied biomedical science student Lee Meiklem has been working with the East of Scotland Blood Transfusions Service on how to reduce the time needed to thaw fresh frozen plasma from 30 minutes to 15.
Frozen plasma is used when someone has been in a major accident but training scenarios completed over the past two years have found that in many cases having to wait for half an hour until it defrosted is too long.
As part of his clinical placement for his degree, Lee worked on research examining the impact of raising the plasma thawing temperature from 37C to 45C, making sure clotting factors were not affected.
The new process also means that smaller volume paediatric plasma can be thawed in just three minutes.
Paul Mathieson, a senior biomedical scientist with the service based at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, said Lee’s work would have a direct impact on the lives of people injured in accidents.
He said: “The work that Lee was involved with will save lives.
“In the event of a casualty having a massive haemorrhage they will need plasma as well as blood to save their life.
“The faster we can supply plasma allows more time for the medical staff to stabilise a casualty quickly.”
Lee said: “It was an honour to be to be involved in the fresh frozen plasma investigation during my time on placement in Blood Transfusion.
“Being able to perform experimental work and gain valuable results that will directly affect people’s lives was hugely gratifying.
“Without Abertay’s laboratory placement opportunity, I would not have been able to be a part of such a revolutionary process and much credit must go to the SBTS staff at Ninewells for allowing me to be so heavily involved with the investigation.”
Scott Cameron, Biomedical Science lecturer at Abertay said: “We are hugely grateful to our partners at the East of Scotland Blood Transfusion Service for offering this excellent real-life clinical work placement.
“To have the chance to work on a project that will genuinely save lives is a huge feather in the cap for Lee and will stand him in great stead after graduation.”