Seattle-area blood banks can't keep up with demand amid increased shootings

The blood bank said that it requires at least 1,000 donors a day.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Violent crime has gotten so bad in Washington that a blood bank is begging for donors. 

Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, Co-Chief Medical Officer at Bloodworks Northwest told KOMO News, “An increase in gunshot wounds, which is really sad to say, but we are definitely seeing it.”

She added that one gunshot victim in the last few weeks needed 50 units of blood to stay alive.

After being shot in the line of duty in March, King County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dave Easterly told the outlet, “I thought I was gonna die, I really did. I was going in and out.”

Easterly underwent at least four surgeries in the following weeks and added, "Most of the blood that flows through me right now doesn't even belong to me. It belongs to the people who were generous enough, brave enough to give me that blood."

The blood bank said that it requires at least 1,000 donors a day to keep enough blood products stocked for any emergency that might occur.

Alcorn told KOMO, “It’s not uncommon for us to activate what we call a massive transfusion protocol in hospitals for these types of patients and that is six red blood cell units, six plasma units, a platelet unit and a unit of Cryoprecipitate, so we’re talking 14 units of stuff.”

“We’ve had several patients recently, who have taken upwards of dozens of units of blood components to get through their immediate trauma resuscitation and again, that’s the immediate trauma, and then any additional surgeries could require more blood.”

According to the Seattle Police Department, the city's violent crime rate reached a 15-year high in 2022, surpassing the record set in 2021.

Violent crime increased by 4 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, which was the previous all-time high in reported crimes. Totals in 2022 surpassed the 2021 record with 49,577 violent and property crimes and the department reported that aggravated assault and motor vehicle thefts were "significantly" high in 2022 compared to the five-year weighted average.

52 homicides were investigated in 2022, an increase from 41 homicides in 2021, the second-highest total of homicides after 53 in 2020.

2023 is already shaping up to be another record-breaking year for homicides. Making matters worse is that last week, the Seattle Police Department was ordered by their chief to no longer engage in any pursuits. Additionally, over 600 officers have left the department since the city council defunded the police in response to the riots in 2020. Some officers were terminated, while others transferred or retired in response to the city’s COVID vaccine mandate.

Even assaults on firefighters have become so common that this week, the city council passed a new law that will classify obstructing a firefighter or EMS worker as a gross misdemeanor, in the same way obstructing a police officer does. According to the department, 50 firefighters have been attacked in just the last 6 months, mostly by the homeless.

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