Bloodworks Northwest issued an urgent appeal for donors following the derailment of an Amtrak passenger train between Tacoma and Olympia on Monday that is making major demands on the community blood supply. Nearly 80 people have been taken to local hospitals, though the exact number of casualties and injuries is unknown at this time, according to a media release from Bloodworks
“Bloodworks has issued more than 150 units of blood to respond to emergency orders from hospitals receiving people injured in the tragedy, James P. AuBuchon, Bloodworks president and CEO, said in the release. “Many of the casualties have been taken to South Sound hospitals— including St. Joseph’s Medical Center, St. Peter’s Hospital and Madigan Army Medical Center— who all depend on Bloodworks to meet their patient needs.”
AuBuchon noted that supplies for some blood types are at critical levels – just one or two day supply, compared to a normal four-day inventory.
“We need to replenish our supplies to meet the needs of injured people today, and in the days ahead, as well as to meet normal needs,” he said.
There is a special need for O-type blood, AB plasma and platelets but all donors are welcome.
“Having blood already on the shelves is essential when unforeseeable emergencies or tragedies happen,” AuBuchon said. “To avoid a crisis for the local blood supply, we’re urging donors who have not donated recently to schedule an appointment as soon as they can at a donor center or mobile drive.”
Donor centers, including one in Tukwila at 130 Andover Park E., are open for extended hours this month making it even more convenient to donate. Information can be found at bloodworksnw.org. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. Appointments can be made online at schedule.bloodworksnw.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888.
“Donors who can’t come in today (Monday) can still help our community respond to this tragedy by scheduling a donation for tomorrow, or during the rest of this week,” he said. “This will help meet the needs of accident victims receiving ongoing care and help us replenish our supply. “
Monday’s tragic event demonstrates that when it comes to patient needs, there’s no such thing as a holiday. Demand for blood is continuous to support local patients having surgeries, trauma care and organ transplants – as well as patients needing blood for cancer treatment.
“Meeting this emergency demand and normal patient needs is going to take strong community support this year,” AuBuchon said. “During the holidays the number of donors visiting our centers and drives goes down by 15-20 percent – with high schools and colleges on break, and people busy with social gatherings and vacations. Since blood can be broken down into components, every donation can potentially help three people.”