Heat wave threatens blood supply

  • Mon Aug 7th, 2017 11:20am
  • News

Bloodworks Northwest has issued an urgent appeal for donors after collections began to dip sharply as a result of the mounting heat wave.

“With a record-breaking heat wave coming this week we face serious shortages if people don’t come in to donate,” James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO of Bloodworks, said in a media release. “Extremely hot weather can disrupt mobile drives in places without air conditioning. While all our centers and bloodmobiles have AC, some older buildings where mobile drives happen do not. If inside temperatures go over 80 degrees, mobile drives might need to end earlier than planned. Donor safety, comfort and well-being is always paramount.”

High temperatures this week are expected to result in the loss of 500 collections.

“We are already at the point where inventories of the most-needed blood types are at critical levels,” AuBuchon said. “With more hot days forecast for the week ahead, we will face an emergency if donors do not come in and donate.”

Blood collections usually fall by 15 to 20 percent during summer with schools and colleges on break and donors on vacation. But the need for blood is often higher in summer from patients undergoing surgeries, emergency rooms treating trauma victims, people having cancer treatment and surgeons performing organ transplants. It takes about 800 donors a day to maintain a sufficient supply for the nearly 100 Northwest hospitals served by Bloodworks.

To avoid a crisis Bloodworks is asking donors who have not donated recently to schedule an appointment at one of its 12 centers. There is a special need for Type O blood and platelets, but all donors are welcome.

Bloodworks has donation centers in Tukwila, 130 Andover Park E., and Federal Way, 1414 S. 324th St., Suite B101.

Donors can schedule an appointment at any donor center by going online at schedule.bloodworksnw.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888. People can also can check online at bloodworksnw.org to find dates and times of mobile drives close to where they live or work.