Bellingham blood center calls for donations after storm

Puget Sound Blood Center issued an urgent appeal for blood and platelet donors this week after Western Washington’s blood supply dipped as a result of the snow and ice storm.

The winter storm and poor road conditions this week caused the cancellation of dozens of blood drives and the loss of 70 percent of normal donations at regional blood centers and blood drives, the organization said. Total loss of donations is expected to reach over 2000 units, and is the largest weather-related impact experienced by the Blood Center in many years.

“It takes about 900 donors per day to maintain a sufficient blood supply, but on Wednesday fewer than 150 donors were able to give,” said Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and chief executive officer of Puget Sound Blood Center. “But no matter what the weather is, the demand for blood continues: patients are in hospitals for surgery, ER’s are treating trauma victims, and people are needing cancer treatments or organ transplants.”

The Blood Center is seeking to rebuild its depleted blood supply to normal levels in the days ahead. “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 maintain 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 between now and January 31st 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. “All donors provide a life-saving gift, but O-negative donors are fewer in number and especially important,” he said.

The Bellingham Donor Center is at 1125 E. Sunset Drive. Whole blood donation hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Make an appointment by calling 360-671-8848.

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