Blood bank urges donations for Hurricane Matthew

Bloodworks will send local offerings to OneBlood

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter

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Bloodworks Northwest is urging local residents who want to help those impacted by Hurricane Matthew to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.

Bloodworks Northwest responded Thursday to an urgent request from Florida’s largest blood network, OneBlood, for blood components in advance of the hurricane. The Northwest organization shipped 30 units to Pensacola, Fla., despite having a tight local inventory, according to a Bloodworks news release.

As a result, Bloodworks Northwest is asking people to donate blood so the organization can continue to support the Florida network and rebuild the local supply. Bloodworks Northwest supplies blood for hospitals throughout Washington, Oregon and Alaska, including to both Vancouver hospitals.

Bloodworks intends to continue shipping blood components throughout the weekend, as long as inventory permits and flights are able to access Florida airports. Officials expect disruptions in the Southeastern blood supply for several days. The number of blood platelets, which have only a five-day shelf life, is of particular concern, according to the news release.

The local blood inventory was already low before the Florida group asked for help. Bloodworks Northwest issued an urgent donor appeal Monday when inventories for some blood types reached emergency levels, which is a one-day supply. Normal inventory is a four-day supply.

Blood donations can be broken down to three components: platelets, red cells and plasma. The biggest need is for donors of platelets and type O-negative blood but all blood types are welcome.

Donations can be made at the Vancouver Donor Center, 9320 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive, Suite 100. The local center is open Tuesday through Saturday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays.

Appointments are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, visit www.bloodworksnw.org/schedule or call 800-398-7888.