Heatwave triggers blood shortage, donations needed

bloodBloodworks Northwest has issued an urgent appeal for donors after collections began to dip sharply as a result of the mounting heat wave and reduced collections caused by summer vacations.

The not-for-profit organization formerly known as the Puget Sound Blood Center has a donor center located in Lynnwood at 19723 Highway 99, Suite F (425-412-1000).


“Even though summer just started, we’re already at the point where inventories of the most-needed blood types are approaching critical level — meaning we have only a two or three day supply,” said Clint Kendrick, senior director of collections and recruitment. “With record-breaking heat forecast over the next two weeks, we face serious shortages if donors do not come in to donate.”

Blood collections usually go down by about 15-20 percent during summer with schools and colleges on break and donors on vacation. “But extremely hot weather disrupts our mobile drives at locations without climate-control–because we suspend collections when temperatures go over 80 degrees to ensure the comfort and well-being of donors,” Kendrick said. “All our donor centers are air conditioned, but attendance still falls off as people stay home to avoid the heat.”

The need for blood is often higher in summer from patients undergoing surgeries, ERs treating traumatic injuries, people receiving cancer treatment and surgeons performing organ transplants. It takes about 900 donors per day to maintain a sufficient blood supply for the 90 Northwest hospitals served by BloodworksNW.

“To avoid a crisis we’re asking donors who have not donated recently to schedule an appointment at one of our 12 centers, or to find a mobile drive in their community close to where they live or work,” Kendrick said. First-time donors are certainly welcome. There is a special need for O-positive, O-negative and A-negative blood types.”

Information about locations and times can be found at bloodworksnw.org. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can be made online at schedule.bloodworksnw.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888.  

“Stay cool, support your community blood supply and enjoy a cookie and cold juice afterwards,” Kendrick urged. “That will get us through this supply shortage caused by the record heat wave.

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