News

Let there be blood

By JACINDA HOWARD

The Mirror

Local blood centers will step up their pursuit for blood donations this summer.

"The donors drop off during summer, but the patients don't," Cascade Regional Blood Services President Christine Swinehart said.

Annually, 25 percent of the blood donated to Cascade Regional Blood Services, which is the sole provider of blood to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, is collected from students via mobile blood drives, said Dan Schmitt, Cascade Regional Blood Services Director of Donor Resources.

Every three seconds, someone in the United States requires a blood transfusion. This is why Cascade Regional Blood Services and Puget Sound Blood Center, both blood banks operating in south King County, constantly need donors.

Cascade Regional Blood Services serves 10 hospitals and medical facilities in Federal Way, Tacoma and Puyallup, including St. Francis Hospital, St. Joseph Medical Center and Good Samaritan, respectively.

It also operates a donation station in Federal Way, located at 33505 13th Place South #B.

Puget Sound Blood Services serves 14 counties in Western Washington and supplies blood to more than 70 hospitals and medical centers, spokesman Tom Butterworth said.

Of the 60 percent of the U.S. population qualified to donate blood, only about 5 percent do so, Butterworth said.

"The majority of people who can donate, don't," Swinehart said.

Most of the blood collected by these two banks is from people who donate multiple times per year, Butterworth said. In Western Washington, to keep up with the constant demand for blood, more than 800 people per weekday must donate, Butterworth said.

In the South King County area, Cascade Regional Blood Center must receive donations from more than 130 people per day in order to fill requests by local hospitals and medical centers, Schmitt said.

Cascade Regional Blood Services receives 40,000 donations annually, but this does not keep Schmitt resting easy. When he first began working at Cascade, he would find himself checking the blood supply several times a day, he said.

Although he no longer feels the need to check with such frequency, he's acutely aware that medical emergencies can be unpredictable

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