By Christina Ausley, Seattle P-I
A man walks past a mural of frontline workers.
A man walks past a mural of frontline workers.
Photo: Sajjad Hussain, AFP Via Getty Images
A man walks past a mural of frontline workers.
A man walks past a mural of frontline workers.
Washington blood donors urged to help amid surge in hospital usage
This years blood supplies arent quite keeping pace with the needs of local hospitals around the Seattle area, according to Bloodworks Northwest officials.
Bloodworks officials noted requests for blood donations are up 120% of normal as of early October, particularly for type O blood. As need increases, so too does pressure on the current supply for even common surgical procedures, making the need for more donors relatively urgent this month within Pacific Northwest hospitals.
This month, blood donors can learn if they have COVID-19 antibodies that may help patients currently fighting coronavirus because Bloodworks is testing all whole blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies through Oct. 31 in conjunction with pandemic response efforts. A positive test result indicates if the donors immune system has produced antibodies to SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) regardless of whether the person ever showed symptoms.
Bloodworks Northwest is backed by 75 years of Northwest history and 250,000 donors. The local, non-profit remains an independent, volunteer-supported and community-based organization and leader in transfusion medicine.
With patients across hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, Bloodworks partners closely with local hospitals to deliver a high level of patient care among blood components, complex cross-matching, specialized lab services for organ transplants, care for patients with blood disorders, and collection of cord blood stem cells for cancer treatment.
Many patients with traumatic injuries, undergoing surgeries or organ transplantation, or receiving treatment for cancer and blood disorders fall dependent on Bloodworks services, especially among an already trying year given the expanse of the novel coronavirus.
Hospitals are seeing an increase in traumas, transplants, and emergency situations requiring blood, said Bloodworks President and CEO, Curt Bailey. Overall blood usage is up 20% which translates to an additional 600 units of blood needed each week. This is unsustainable unless more community members step up to fill these growing needs of our hospitals and those lives depending on them.
To fill the need, it typically takes around 1,000 people each day to make appointments and give blood at Bloodworks donor centers and pop-up blood drives happening throughout Western Washington and Oregon, according to Bloodworks.
As this high usage trend continues, our deficit increases with our most-needed Type O blood types fast approaching critically low levels, said Vicki Finson, executive vice president of blood services. Local hospitals are counting on all of us to meet their commitment to provide the best patient care possible. Whether youre a first-time donor or longtime donor, please make an appointment now to keep our shelves stocked for patients.
Notably, donations alongside Bloodworks provide 95% of the lifesaving blood supply to Pacific Northwest hospitals, according to Bloodworks officials.
So whether you have a spare hour to check in and enjoy a post-donation cookie, or are searching for ways to help hospitals amid COVID-19, check out information about who can donate and where, available here.
As of late, theyve launched pop-up locations across Bellevue, Bellingham, Central Seattle, Everett, Federal Way, Lynnwood, Olympia, North Seattle, Silverdale, Tukwila, Vancouver and Eugene, Oregon.
Appointments and masks are required, and in accordance with current social distancing guidelines, no walk-ins, guests or people younger than 16 years of age are permitted onsite. Bloodworks has posted additional information addressing questions and concerns for blood donors here.
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