SAN ANTONIO -- Under the Brothers in Arms program, every rescue helicopter will be fully stocked with lifesaving whole blood.
It's a strategy used on the battlefield and now it's coming to San Antonio.
"I never gave it much thought that my blood might be a little bit different," blood donor Eric Maldonado said.
Maldonado's blood type is O-positive, the universal blood type, found in 30 percent of donors.
However, what is different is his blood is headed to a local rescue helicopter. He's one of the first donors for the new Brothers in Arms program.
Just like the battlefield, air medical crews will give trauma patients transfusions of whole blood -- meaning components like platelets or plasma get to stay.
"Half of the patients died of bleeding they weren't even 30 minutes from the time of their injury to the time they arrive, they still died from bleeding," University Hospital and UT Health San Antonio's Dr. Donal Jenkins said.
Battlefield research shows whole blood can bring mortality rates down as low as 20 percent, between the level one trauma centers in town, a lot of people could be saved.
"More than 10,000 injured patients come through those trauma centers on an annual basis from South Texas," Jenkins said.
To make the whole program work they don't only need donors with O-blood types, but they are looking for men to step up. That's why Eric is going to get on a pretty strict schedule.
"Having that extra push will be a reminder to come in and donate," Maldonado said.
Brothers in Arms specially targets O-positve blood from men like Eric because it's common. Men have lower levels of antibodies in their blood which reduces the risk of adverse reactions.
"It makes me really happy to know that my blood is going to be able to perhaps send somebody home from the hospital," Maldonado said.
"No one has ever done it on this scale. This is really special," Jenkins said.
The first helicopters will take off with the whole blood on Monday.