Emergency need for blood donations

Emergency appeal to blood donors 
Nationwide shortage continues to impact Northwest

Seattle, WA – Bloodworks Northwest issued an urgent appeal for donors today after inventories for some blood types fell to emergency levels—indicating only a one-day supply. Normal inventory is a four-day supply. The appeal echoes information showing a continuing nationwide blood shortage that has persisted since early June.

“While all blood and platelet donors are welcome, there is a special need for type O-negative blood,” said Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO. “Higher than normal patient needs have challenged our ability to get beyond the chronic shortage to rebuild a strong, steady inventory.”

Type O-negative is the “universal” blood type that can be transfused to any patient suffering from trauma and needing immediate transfusion without time available to determine their blood type.

Only 9% of the population has Type O-negative blood.

It takes 800 donors per day year-round to maintain a sufficient supply for the 90 hospitals served by Bloodworks in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Since blood can be broken down into its three components (red cells, platelets, plasma) each donation can potentially save three lives.

The demand for blood is continuous to support the daily needs of local hospitals and special care facilities. Patients undergo surgeries and organ transplants. ERs treat traumatic injuries, and many people receive blood components for cancer treatment. Recent tragedies underscore the fact that having blood already on the shelves is essential when unforeseeable emergencies happen.

To help the inventory return to adequate levels, donors can go to any one of 12 donor centers, or can check online for community blood drives occurring close to where they live or work. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Information about locations and times can be found at bloodworksnw.org. Make appointments online at BloodworksNW.org/Schedule or by phone at 1-800-398-7888.