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Donors urgently needed after blood supply drops during bad weather

Puget Sound Blood Center has issued an urgent appeal for blood and platelet donors after Western Washington’s blood supply dropped sharply as a result of this week's severe winter weather.

Snow and icy road conditions this week have caused the cancellation of almost all blood drives and a drastic reduction in donor visits to regional blood centers. Total loss of donations has reached more than 2,200 units. Blood and platelet donations are needed urgently; donors are encouraged to give throughout the next week in order to rebuild supplies to stable levels.

“It takes about 900 donors per day to maintain a sufficient blood supply, but on Wednesday and Thursday fewer than 150 donors were able to give each day,” said Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and chief executive officer of Puget Sound Blood Center. “This is the biggest weather-related emergency experienced by the blood center in decades.”

There will be a blood drive Tuesday in Port Orchard, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Port of Bremerton parking lot across from City Hall. Donors may make appointments online at the Puget Sound Blood Center website.

Another blood drive will be held Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Lutheran Community Church, 2431 Mitchell Road in Port Orchard. No appointments are needed.

“We are now receiving help from other blood centers outside the Pacific Northwest to help us maintain a stable blood supply for local hospitals," AuBuchon said. "No matter what the weather is, the demand for blood continues: patients are in hospitals for surgery, ER’s are treating traumatic injuries, and people are needing cancer treatments or organ transplants.”

With the snow turning to rain and roads starting to clear, the center hopes donors will help restore its blood supply.

“As soon as our donors are able to travel safely, we urge them to attend one of our centers or blood drives so we can rebuild a stable blood supply for patients and hospitals in our communities. If they’re not able to attend a center or blood drive on Friday or Saturday, we’re asking them to make a special effort through next week to donate and replenish the blood supply.”

AuBuchon noted a special need for O-negative blood donors, who are universal donors whose blood can be transfused to patients with any other blood type.

Information about locations and times to give blood can be found at psbc.org.  People can go to one of 11 donor centers in Western Washington, or check for community blood drives closer to where they live or work.

In Kitsap County, a blood donor center is in Silverdale at 3230 NW Randall Way, Suite 101.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome, too. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-800-398-7888.

 

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