US troops get freeze-dried plasma for battlefield bloodshed

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- All of the U.S. military's special operations fighters now being sent to war zones have freeze-dried blood plasma, a crucial addition to first-aid kits that can prevent badly wounded troops from bleeding to death on the battlefield.

The Marines Corps this fall became the last of the military branches to begin carrying the dehydrated and powdered product that helps blood to clot.

U.S. special ops units have received about 1,000 kits of the freeze-dried plasma from the French military over the past five years. The U.S. Special Operations Command said it's been used at least 24 times, with 15 patients surviving to reach a hospital.

Now Congress is deciding how to speed up approval for an American-made replacement that could someday also be used in civilian medicine.

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