Region’s blood supply plummets 70 percent due to wintry conditions

January 19, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 12:30 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Puget Sound Blood Center issued a call Thursday for blood and platelet donations after donations plummeted 70 percent due to the snowstorm and icy road conditions stymied donors.

The winter weather caused the cancellation of dozens of blood drives. The total loss of donations is expected to reach more than 2,000 units. Officials said the drop-off is the largest weather-related impact experienced by the Puget Sound 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,” Dr. James P. AuBuchon, Puget Sound Blood Center president and CEO, said in a statement. “But no matter what the weather is, the demand for blood continues: Patients are in hospitals for surgery, ERs are treating traumatic injuries, and people are needing cancer treatments or organ transplants.”

The center is seeking to rebuild the blood supply in the days ahead. Forecasters called for milder conditions to come.

Find information about locations and times to give blood at www.psbc.org. People can donate at 11 donor centers in Western Washington, or check for community blood drives closer to home. Call 1-800-398-7888 to schedule a donation appointment.

“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,” AuBuchon said. “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 Jan. 31 to donate and replenish the blood supply.”

The center has a special need for O-negative blood donors — universal donors. O-negative 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,” AuBuchon added.

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