TowerDIRECT paramedics, first in the state to carry blood products for patient transfusions, posing for picture with Dr. Charles Barbera at Reading Hospital.
TowerDIRECT team at Reading Hospital with Charles Barbera, MD 

As of today, TowerDIRECT ambulances in Reading and Phoenixville will be the first in the state to carry blood products for patient transfusions. With TowerDIRECT paramedics being the first to provide this life-saving service, ambulances will be available to all regional county 911 agencies as a resource.

TowerDIRECT began carrying blood on its Critical Care Truck (CCT) in April 2023, in Reading. Now, TowerDIRECT’s 50 paramedics have been trained and qualified to administer blood in a pre-hospital environment for patients in hemorrhagic shock. In addition, TowerDIRECT team members helped to create the paramedic training that will be adopted statewide by other EMS agencies interested in providing this service.

On the CCT, the blood transfusion is performed by a pre-hospital nurse. “We saw first-hand the positive impact this therapy could have on the survivability of our patients,” said Herbert Schiffer, DO, Emergency Medicine physician and TowerDIRECT Medical Director. “We wanted to expand the service, and would need to develop a process for our paramedics to be trained to do so.”

Patients requiring a transfusion could include those suffering from severe hemorrhagic shock, gunshot wounds, stab wounds, critical injuries from a motor vehicle accident, OB/GYN bleeds, severe internal bleeding, or other forms of penetrating trauma or blunt force trauma. The ambulance will carry type O blood products, which can be safely received by every patient.

TowerDIRECT paramedics, pictured here at Phoenixville Hospital, are first in the state to carry blood products for patient transfusions.
TowerDIRECT team at Phoenixville Hospital

In recent years, blood centers across the U.S. have faced critical shortages due to increased demand and decreased donations. To ensure the success of blood services, Tower Health encourages the community to donate blood to their local blood banks, such as the Miller-Keystone Blood Center. To be eligible to donate blood, you must be 16 years or older, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. Donors must also provide valid identification. Parental consent is required for 16-year-old blood donors. Individuals are eligible to donate whole blood every 56 days.

TowerDIRECT, the system’s non-profit ambulance company, provides emergency 911 response to residents in 19 Berks and Chester County townships and boroughs. In addition to responding to 911 calls, the TowerDIRECT team provides medical care at community events, such as parades, football games, and other large public gatherings.

“Miller-Keystone is a wonderful partner to Tower Health and we are thankful for their ongoing support so our hospitals can provide life-saving care to our communities,” P. Sue Perrotty, Tower Health president and CEO, said.

If you are interested in a career with TowerDIRECT, please visit to learn more or apply for available positions.


About Tower Health

Tower Health is a regional integrated healthcare system that offers compassionate, high quality, leading edge healthcare and wellness services to communities in Berks, Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. With approximately 11,500 employees, Tower Health consists of Reading Hospital in West Reading; Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville; Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown; and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, in partnership with Drexel University. Tower Health is strongly committed to academic medicine and training, including multiple residency and fellowship programs, the Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health, and the Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in West Reading. The system also includes Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing; home healthcare provided by Tower Health at Home; TowerDirect ambulance and emergency response; Tower Health Medical Group; Tower Health Providers, our clinically integrated network; and Tower Health Urgent Care facilities across our service area. For more information, visit

Inform News Phoenixville Hospital News Pottstown Hospital News Reading Hospital News St. Christopher's Hospital for Children News Tower Health News