For the Reporter
With the hurricane season here, experts at Seattle-based Bloodworks Northwest are concerned that a critically low inventory of type O negative blood and platelets will leave them hard-pressed to respond to the next national emergency, let alone meet needs of the nearly 100 local hospitals that count on Bloodworks for even common procedures like surgeries.
The impact of reduced collections caused by warmer temperatures, school breaks, and summer vacations has triggered a special appeal to donors to help meet the urgent patient needs in Northwest hospitals and potentially in support of disaster victims around the country in the coming weeks.
A blood type is considered critically low when it reaches a two-day supply, as opposed to a four-day operational inventory. It takes over 800 donor registrations every day to maintain an operational blood supply in the Northwest.
“While our primary mission supports local patients, when catastrophes happen we do whatever we can to help – even when local supplies are as tight as they’ve been this summer,” said James P. AuBuchon, MD, president and CEO of Bloodworks. “Our amazing donors make it possible. We never know when the next natural or man-made disaster like Hurricane Harvey, the Amtrak 501 derailment or Las Vegas shooting will take place and we need to be ready. The blood already collected and on the shelves allows us to respond to emergencies when they happen. We can be prepared if our generous donors step up like they did last year during those disasters.”
There is a special need for O blood type and platelets, but all types are welcomed. Type O is the most common blood type in the Northwest, accounting for 48 percent of the population. As the universal blood type, O negative blood can be transfused to any patient suffering from trauma when they are rushed to a hospital and there is no time to type their blood.
Bloodworks urges past and first time blood and platelet donors to schedule an appointment at a center or mobile blood drive near to where they live or work. Appointments can be made online at bloodworksnw.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888. More information at bloodworksnw.org.