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NW short on blood supply, sending units to Carolinas ahead of hurricane

Seattle’s Bloodworks Northwest has already shipped 34 units of blood to North Carolina and Virginia ahead of Hurricane Florence.

The amount pales in comparison to the need for donations as the natural disaster looms. Hurricane Florence — a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph — is being called the “storm of a lifetime.” More than one million people have been ordered to leave coastal communities as the storm approaches. Injuries are expected. But Bloodworks cannot send much more donations.

“We restricted the amount we sent to the Carolinas, because our local inventory was short,” said Bloodworks Northwest CEO Dr. Jim AuBuchon. “This always happens at the end of the summer, beginning of the fall.”

AuBuchon says about 14,000 units of blood will not be collected along the East Coast because of the hurricane. Bloodworks expects to send more donations as the storm makes landfall and potentially claims injured victims. It will leave one of the largest blood banks in the Pacific Northwest critically low.

“We estimate that given the area affected by the hurricane, about 2,000 units of blood would normally be collected in that area every day and that will not be happening over the next week,” AuBuchon said.

“We would like to send more, they have asked for more,” he said. “But we need to make sure that our local supplies are adequate before we do that.”

Bloodworks is currently seeking donors, especially with O-negative, O-positive, B-negative, and AB blood.

“But truly anyone of any blood type, we would be delighted to have you as a donor,” AuBuchon said. “We can put that blood to good use and save lives.”

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