Bloodworks Northwest seeking blood donors to help with Hurricane Harvey


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On Monday (Aug. 28), Bloodworks Northwest sent an emergency shipment of blood components to the Gulf Coast Blood Center in Houston, and to Carter Blood Center in Dallas. Units from Bloodworks were already among the first to reach flood-ravaged Houston over the weekend.

Catastrophic flooding has surrounded Houston’s Gulf Coast Blood Center – making it impossible to distribute blood or to collect blood from donors. It is expected that FEMA will deploy amphibious vehicles to move emergency blood shipments to patients and hospitals in need. Carter is designated as the distributor for blood shipments into flood-torn Houston.

“While our primary mission supports local patients, when catastrophes happen we do whatever we can to help — even when local supplies are as tight as they’ve been in recent weeks,” said James P. AuBuchon, MD, president and CEO of Bloodworks. “It is our amazing donors who make it possible.”

The Houston-bound blood was air-shipped from SeaTac this morning, and will arrive at approximately 7:00 pm Central time this evening. Last Thursday, Bloodworks also sent a shipment of blood to McAllen, Texas to help people evacuating from coastal communities as they prepared for the approaching impact of Hurricane Harvey.

When disasters happen and emergency transfusions are required, the need is acute for most-common Type O blood and universal AB plasma. In addition, with flooding disrupting collection across a wide region, the short, five-day shelf life for platelets makes emergency shipments from outside the disaster-impacted area essential.

The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism also issued a nationwide appeal urging Americans donate blood this week to help come to grips with the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the nation’s blood supply. AABB is the international, not-for-profit association representing people and organizations involved transfusion medicine and cellular therapies.

“We’re asking local donors who have not donated recently — regulars and first-timers — to help us restore local inventories by donating this week,” AuBuchon said. “Having seen the images from Houston, we need to be ready to respond if additional shipments to Texas are needed in the days and weeks ahead to help people recover from the devastation caused by Harvey and its aftermath.”

Donors can schedule an appointment at schedule.bloodworksNW.org or by calling 1-800-398-7888.

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