Blood platelet shortage impacting medical treatments amid lack of donors

May 23, 2022, 4:04 PM
People donate blood at Bloodworks Northwest on March 17, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Kar...
People donate blood at Bloodworks Northwest on March 17, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Ongoing since the pandemic, a blood platelet shortage is reaching critical levels as deliveries are being rationed among local hospitals.

Bloodworks Northwest, a blood bank and medical research institute headquartered in Seattle, is unable to send full orders of platelets to cancer and surgery centers because there are not enough donors. The medical laboratory stated it was running dangerously low on Type O positive, O negative, and platelet donations.

Platelets help form blood clots, and Dr. Sandyha Panch at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center says if the shortage lasts, it may force changes in cancer treatments.

“Right now, we’re giving half units to patients, and maybe saving the full units of platelets for people who are bleeding actively,” Panch said.

PNW blood platelet shortage no longer ‘critical,’ but 2,000 donations still needed

The platelet rationing could also lead to delays in elective surgery at local hospitals.

As blood banks across western Washington continue to deal with an ongoing shortage of blood, Kent’s mayor, Dana Ralph, is calling for more donations.

“It’s very concerning. We don’t know when the next person is going to be sick or there’s going to be some sort of tragic accident,” Ralph said. “Those are the things we can’t schedule out, so we have to make sure the supply exists for when those things happen.”

Ralph, a cancer survivor, used her platform and her donation to highlight the need to have enough blood on hand, especially during emergencies.

Bloodworks Northwest joined 30 other blood centers across the country to organize the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps. It is a first-in-the-nation partnership to ensure the local blood supply is consistent.

The collective is committed to preparing for mass transfusion disasters by collecting extra units for an emergency reserve.

Most recently, the Blood Emergency Readiness Corps sent reserves of blood to Kentucky after tornados struck in December 2021. The organization also shipped boxes of red blood cells for trauma care to the eight remaining victims of a school shooting in Michigan in December 2021.

The regional blood supply is hovering around a one- to two-day limit, according to Bloodworks Northwest. Washington and Oregon need approximately 1,000 donors daily to maintain a safe supply.

Local News

Photo by James Holt / Seattle Symphony...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle Symphony plays pop culture classics

The performance is a collaboration between the Seattle Symphony and a tour Joe Hisaishi and his team are doing across North America, Wilson said.
17 hours ago
(Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle Airport expects more than 150,000 travelers per day this holiday weekend

This holiday weekend, air travelers should be prepared to face delays as large amounts of people are expected to pass through Seattle Airport. 
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Judge revokes release of Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, orders $100,000 bail

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer had to post $100,000 bail to stay out of jail today as he awaits trial for charges of false reporting.
3 days ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

Initiative to decriminalize drug possession fails to make November ballot

A statewide initiative that sought to decriminalize drug possession in Washington State won’t be on the November 2022 ballot.
3 days ago
Photo by Karen Ducey...
MyNorthwest Staff

AG unveils law to lower healthcare cost for millions of residents

Starting today a new law goes into effect that makes 4 million Washington residents eligible to receive free or discounted hospital care.
3 days ago
A member of the Washington State Patrol guards an entrance as Washington National Guard personnel w...
MyNorthwest Staff

Inslee prohibits Washington State Patrol to aid out-of-state abortion investigations

Inslee is continuing to look at additional steps to protect patients from investigations initiated by agencies and vigilantes in anti-choice states.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Blood platelet shortage impacting medical treatments amid lack of donors