Doctors at The Alfred
brought Tamara Coakley, 33, back from the brink of death after a horrific car crash left her with severe blood loss and dangerously close to heart failure. This was the first reported case of the synthetic blood reversing cardiac hypoxia and anaemia in a trauma patient.
A last-ditch effort to save Mrs Coakley's life led to 10 units of the haemoglobin-based oxygen carrier, called HBOC-201 to be flown in from the US.
It contains a molecule derived from cow's blood and restored the level of haemoglobin in her blood, which carries oxygen to the tissues.
Trauma service director Dr Mark Fitzgerald said it marked an important step in developing a viable blood alternative to address world blood supply shortages.
Unlike donor blood it does not require matching and can be stored without refrigeration for up to three years- making it suitable for use in a rural settings or on the battlefield.
"It's a bit of science fiction," Dr Fitzgerald said.