Call for blood donations in WA as levels dip to lowest in years

Bloodworks Northwest is sounding the alarm again about a critical need for blood as their supply is currently hanging by a thread.

“I’ve been in transfusion medicine for many decades, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Vicki Finson with Bloodworks Northwest.

Finson says Bloodworks currently has less than half a day’s supply and cannot fill all hospital orders.

“For the last even several months, we, most of the time, have been triaging all hospital orders to ensure that we have blood everywhere. We serve from Bellingham all the way down to Eugene. And also making sure that the trauma centers have what they need, knowing that any day they could have multiple victims who need lots of blood transfusion,” Finson says.

The shortage is happening at a critical time as hospitals experience a COVID-19 surge.

Donations typically go down over the holiday, but things recently got worse when Western Washington was hit with a Christmas snowstorm and severe weather conditions continued.

“We were on the edge before the weather, and the weather put us over the edge. We saw many donors who just couldn’t get to us, (there were a) large number of no-shows, (and) we are appointment only. (There have been a) large number of cancellations and very few people making appointments,” Finson said.

Finson said it is a tenuous situation. Their staff is evaluating everything by the hour and she is calling on the community to help out and save lives.

“My largest concern (right now) is someone is going to go without,” Finson says.

“We’re asking people to please make a New Year’s resolution to include blood donation. And don’t just do it once. Think about how you can donate two, three, four times a year because we can really use that help in our community.”

Bloodworks says all types of blood are needed, especially type O, the universal blood type used for emergency situations when the patient’s blood type is unknown.

Click on this link to schedule a time for you to donate.