Blood donors needed as local blood bank sends supplies to East Coast ahead of Florence

The hand of a blood donor squeezing a medical rubber ball

SEATTLE — As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast, Bloodworks Northwest has sent an emergency shipment of 34 blood components to hospitals in North Carolina and Virginia to help these coastal areas prepare for the potentially devastating impact of the hurricane.

That leaves the local blood bank with a critically low inventory of type O and several other blood types and platelets that about 100 regional hospitals depend on for both emergencies and common surgeries, according to a news release from Bloodworks.

“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 in recent weeks,” said Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO of Bloodworks. “It is our amazing donors who make it possible.”

Blood donors are urged to make an appointment now or in the coming days to meet demand. Although all blood types will be accepted, there is a critical demand for O negative, O positive, B negative and AB negative donors. 

A blood type is considered critically low when it reaches a two-day supply as opposed to a four-day supply. It takes 800 donor registrations every day to maintain an operational blood supply in the Northwest.

“Once our community returns to stable inventories, we will be prepared to assist with additional emergency blood shipments to help those affected by hurricanes or other disasters,” said AuBuchon. “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 Hurricane Harvey and Amtrak 501.”

Appointments can be made at centers and blood drives online or by calling 1-800-398-7888. Click here for more information.