Gun violence, heatwave impacting emergency blood supplies

May 15, 2023, 10:42 AM


The is a concern that the recent uptick in gun violence in Seattle is threatening the blood supplies used in emergencies. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bloodworks Northwest, the region’s leading blood bank, is concerned that gun cases could have a significant impact on blood supplies. Seattle cases are increasing in record numbers.

“We know of a recent case of a gunshot wound that required over 50 units of red blood cells,” Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, Bloodworks Co-Chief Medical Officer, said. “Of course, it takes time to recover after that kind of use.”

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The agency is also raising warning flags about the coming “100 deadliest days” on the roads. According to the National Transportation Safety Council, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the most dangerous time to be on the road, particularly for inexperienced and teen drivers.

According to data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • An average of 260 teens are killed in car accidents each month during the summer, a 26% increase compared to other months.
  • Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days.
  • Drunk-driving-related fatalities increase by 43% during the days surrounding major summer holidays like the Fourth of July.

Heat is also a factor. With temperatures expected to remain in the upper 80s this week, Bloodworks is urging donors to keep their appointments and donate at one of their many air-conditioned donor centers across western Washington.

According to the Bloodworks website:

Within hours of donation, your blood is taken quickly to our lab for comprehensive testing and processing. Whole blood is processed and separated into component parts — red blood cells and plasma. … Usually, within 24 hours, your blood is available in local hospitals. The final step is transfusion to patients in need.

Your blood donation could be used in trauma care for people in accidents, or in surgeries and organ transplants. It might be needed by people receiving treatment for cancer, bleeding disorders, blood diseases, or immune system condition. … Bloodworks is your local source for blood, and you are helping to support more than 90 Northwest hospitals.

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Gun violence, heatwave impacting emergency blood supplies