Bloodworks Northwest urgently appeals for Seattle donors amid blood shortage

Bloodworks Northwest has issued an urgent appeal for blood donors, citing critically low levels of Type O blood heading into the Fourth of July holiday. 

According to a news release Monday, Bloodworks Northwest reports that donations are down, while patient needs for Type O blood and platelets are at their highest during the "100 Deadliest Days," a period marked by increased motor accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

"We’re operating on critically low levels of Type O Negative blood for the last 60 days, and the hospital need for Type O blood group – the most needed in trauma situations – has risen six percent above average," said Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, co-chief medical officer of Bloodworks Northwest. "We’re concerned the upcoming Fourth of July weekend will decrease the inventory of blood for emergencies at a time when trauma units around our region experience high patient usage. It’s vital the public prioritize donating blood to keep our community safe this summer."

The holiday poses a unique challenge as Bloodworks Northwest is also on call with the Blood Emergency Management Corps (BERC) to potentially ship blood anywhere in the U.S. in case of a mass disaster. Last Memorial Day weekend, Bloodworks sent a shipment of blood to Texas to assist those impacted by tornadoes.

man donating blood

A man donates blood amid a blood shortage at Blood Services in Ventura, CA.  ( Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

It takes 1,000 donors a day of all blood types to maintain a safe and reliable blood supply for unexpected emergencies and ongoing medical care in the region. According to Bloodworks Northwest, only 29% of the needed donors for the week of Fourth of July have booked appointments, leaving a gap of 10,800 open appointments through July 7.

"Donating blood takes about an hour from check-in to post-donation cookie, and it is an hour well spent," emphasized Bloodworks Northwest. Each donation, roughly one pint of blood, can be crucial as patients often need multiple pints for transfusions.

‘In Our Blood’ campaign

In a bid to encourage donations, Bloodworks is offering donors a chance to win two tickets to see Taylor Swift at The Eras Tour stop in Vancouver, BC, as part of their "In Our Blood" campaign. Donors between July 3-6 will earn double entries for the Taylor Swift ticket giveaway. Additionally, donors who create donor portal accounts can receive gift card promotions when they sign up for emails.

Bloodworks Northwest provides lifesaving blood supplies to 95% of hospitals in the Pacific Northwest and offers comprehensive services, including blood components, complex cross-matching, specialized lab services for organ transplants, care for patients with blood disorders and collection of cord blood stem cells for cancer treatment.

For more information on how to donate blood and to schedule an appointment, visit or call 800-398-7888.


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