A Credo of Reliability: UK Improves Blood, Drug Shipments
Blood and drugs are life-savers on the battlefield. These products are also temperature sensitive, which poses a challenge: how can they be shipped and/or kept close to the front lines, in order to provide treatment for trauma patients during the critical first hour (“The Golden Hour”)?
Civilian agencies face this problem, too, with an additional focus on shipping such products less expensively. In Britain, the UK MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support branch turned to that expertise in order to solve its own problem. Enter Minnesota Thermal Sciences and their “Golden Hour Box,” which had already picked up a “Greatest Inventions” award from the US Army…
The 1 foot/ 30 cm square box uses a combination of vacuum-insulated panels and an internal thermal insulating chamber containing a phase-change material. The thermal chamber is placed in a freezer for approximately 18 hours to be conditioned. It’s then removed and left at room temperature for 30 minutes, then placed back in its container and filled. The boxes will maintain the required temperature for up to 72 hours, depending on conditions. Upon arrival, the enclosed electronic monitoring device provides a complete record of the internal temperature of the box during transit, in order to certify their fitness for use.
Past solutions had required micro-management of consignments, using CBIT and ACE boxes of tri-wall charged polystyrene that were filled with wet ice, dry ice, or gel packs. The reusable Golden Hour/Credo boxes cost more to buy, but pay for themselves very quickly.
Warrant Officer Nick Woodward of the UK DE&S Medical and General Supplies Integrated Project Team:
“We are saving significant costs a week because drugs and other products that previously we might have been forced to discard, because we couldn’t always adequately control the internal temperature during their transit, are now arriving in excellent condition.”
See also: UK MoD release.