Train derailment results in urgent plea for Blood Donors – here’s how to help

Bloodworks Northwest issued an urgent appeal for donors on Monday (Dec. 18), following the derailment of an Amtrak passenger train between Tacoma and Olympia that is making major demands on the community blood supply.

NOTE: If you can’t donate immediately, please note that a Blood Drive will be held at Burien City Hall this Thursday, Dec. 21 – more info here.

Nearly 80 people have been taken to local hospitals, though the exact number of casualties and injuries is unknown at this time.

“Bloodworks has issued more than 150 units of blood to respond to emergency orders from hospitals receiving people injured in the tragedy, said James P. AuBuchon, MD, president and CEO.“Many of the casualties have been taken to South Sound hospitals— including St. Joseph’s Medical Center, St. Peter’s Hospital and Madigan Army Medical Center— who all depend on Bloodworks to meet their patient needs.”

AuBuchon noted that supplies for some blood types are at critical levels – just one or two day supply, compared to a normal four-day inventory. “We need to replenish our supplies to meet the needs of injured people today, and in the days ahead, as well as to meet normal needs,” he said.

There is a special need for O-type blood, AB plasma and platelets but all donors are welcome.

“Having blood already on the shelves is essential when unforeseeable emergencies or tragedies happen,” AuBuchon said. “To avoid a crisis for the local blood supply, we’re urging donors who have not donated recently to schedule an appointment as soon as they can at a donor center or mobile drive.”

Donor centers are open for extended hours this month to make it even more convenient.  Information can be found at Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are also welcome. Appointments can be made online at or by calling 1-800-398-7888.  

“Donors who can’t come in today can still help our community respond to this tragedy by scheduling a donation for tomorrow, or during the rest of this week,” he said. “This will help meet the needs of accident victims receiving ongoing care and help us replenish our supply. “

“Meeting this emergency demand and normal patient needs is going to take strong community support this year,” AuBuchon said.During the holidays the number of donors visiting our centers and drives goes down by 15-20 percent – with high schools and colleges on break, and people busy with social gatherings and vacations.  Since blood can be broken down into components, every donation can potentially help three people.”

“We offer our prayers and support for everyone who is impacted by today’s tragedy, and for the emergency responders, healthcare providers, blood donors and ordinary citizens coming together to respond,” he concluded.

Today’s tragic event demonstrates that when it comes to patient needs, there’s no such thing as a holiday. Demand for blood is continuous to support local patients having surgeries, trauma care and organ transplants – as well as patients needing blood for cancer treatment.

BloodworksNW Donor Centers
Appointments and information at or 800-398-7888

About BloodworksNW
Bloodworks (formerly Puget Sound Blood Center) is backed by 70 years of Northwest history and 250,000 donors. It is local, nonprofit, independent, volunteer-supported and community-based. A recognized leader in transfusion medicine, Bloodworks serves patients in more than 90 hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska — partnering closely with local hospitals to deliver the highest level of patient care. Comprehensive services include 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. Bloodworks Research Institute performs leading-edge research in blood biology, transfusion medicine, blood storage and treatment of blood disorders. Patients with traumatic injuries, undergoing surgeries or organ transplantation, or receiving treatment for cancer and blood disorders all depend on our services, expertise, laboratories and research. For more information, visit

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