Have blood, need parking: Got a spot for a Puget Sound Blood Center bus?

August 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm | In Health, How to help, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

Krista Fink from Puget Sound Blood Center is hoping you can help them solve a problem – with lives in the balance – someplace for them to park their donation-drive bus. Her e-mail to us tells the story:

In the beginning of September, on Tuesday, September 4th, we have two mobile units that are still open that I need to fill and I just can’t find a location for them. I am hoping that maybe you will put something on your blog and maybe someone will see it and think “hey maybe my church can host a blood drive” or a business, youth group, etc. If we can’t find these mobile teams a ‘home’- a place to go, set up, and serve willing blood donors, then we will be missing out on over 80 donations. Because each blood donation saves 3 lives, those donations would save the lives of up to 240 local patients.

Please allow me to explain. We have a large number of donors in West Seattle. However, we have very few blood drives. Aside from the bi-annual high school blood drives at WSHS, we have a bus that comes to Westwood Village and one that comes to Jefferson Square every month and twice yearly we have a little bus at PCC. I’m looking for groups that might like to host blood drives so that we can provide more convenient opportunities for all of our wonderful West Seattle donors to donate at. Here at PSBC, we don’t necessarily create community- we are a part of it, and we operate for it, but we rely on other communities- groups of people who are already connected together in some way or another- who will support us. Blood Drives are wonderful ways to bring communities together- you never know who receives the blood and it could be your neighbor, your friend, your coworker, or the mysterious woman, a stranger, who is always in the same line as you at the coffee shop.

We have 17 mobile units (teams that go to various locations for mobile blood drives) that need to be scheduled for a blood drive every day in order to simply have the opportunity to collect enough blood to meet the needs of our inventory and provide a stable supply of blood for the community’s needs. Summer is tough- it is full of cancellations and a lack of donations as people are on vacation, the heat, people are busy, etc.

Specifically, we have a big bus and a big inside mobile team. The big inside mobile team requires a space of at least 900 square feet, three electrical outlets, good lighting and restroom access. The bus requires a flat surface and approx. 70 feet of parking lengthways as well as nearby restroom access.

Like I said, blood drives do create value for those who organize them, and the donors themselves. It’s an investment back into the community. There are already so many wonderful, dedicated blood donors in the area and I’m hoping someone can help!

(added) Krista’s office number is 425.462.4384 – her e-mail is KristaF@psbc.org.

26 Comments

  1. I don’t want to stand in the way of helping out people in ill health… BUT get back to us when The Puget Sound Blood Center stops discriminating against LGBT folks, and maybe more organizations would be willing to help out.

    Comment by Mickymse — 3:16 pm August 21, 2012 #

  2. Do you have a contact phone number or email?

    Comment by Tammy — 3:40 pm August 21, 2012 #

  3. Tammy – I am subscribed to PSBC’s e-mail updates and they come from KristaF@psbc.org. Her office phone is listed as 425.462.4384. Her mobile # is also on there but I hesitate to post here.

    Comment by highland park — 4:09 pm August 21, 2012 #

  4. HP, thanks, I was just pulling that off her e-mail. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:11 pm August 21, 2012 #

  5. Mickymse – did you read the article you linked? It says PSBC is supportive of allowing gay men to donate, but FDA rules prevent it. I think it’s unfair to imply that PSBC is the source of the discrimination.

    Comment by owen — 4:20 pm August 21, 2012 #

  6. Mickymse, from what I can tell, that article says Puget Sound Blood Center DOESN’T discriminate. So I guess you can offer some suggestions now :)

    Comment by NeoYogi — 4:21 pm August 21, 2012 #

  7. Thank you. I managed to find a number and have left her a message but I will also try the email address.

    Comment by Tammy — 4:26 pm August 21, 2012 #

  8. PSBC’s position is explained on its FAQ page:
    .
    http://www.psbc.org/programs/faq.htm

    Comment by WSB — 4:35 pm August 21, 2012 #

  9. Mickymse,
    I understand your frustration, policy simply hasn’t kept up with science on this issue. Unfortunately this is a policy that comes straight from the FDA; this is not simply a Puget Sound Blood Center policy.
    The American Association of Blood Banks – of which PSBC is a member – has been advocating a change in this policy for nearly a decade
    In fact, the article you cited talks about PSBC’s support for a change in that policy.

    Comment by DRS — 4:40 pm August 21, 2012 #

  10. Would they be able to do on street parking in front of a business?

    Comment by Mary McNeight — 4:46 pm August 21, 2012 #

  11. Mickymse, you’re not under any obligation to tell them the truth if you know you’re clean (regularly tested and being safe/monogamous), just do what everyone else does, lie to them. I l know both gays and ex-needle users who do this. They’ll never know the difference and gladly use your blood just the same.

    Comment by Anonymous — 5:27 pm August 21, 2012 #

  12. Perhaps WSB could reach out to Equity Residential for permission to use the parking lot that was formerly for customers of that building (formerly home to Rocksport, Beer Junction, AAA, etc). It seems that they haven’t started demolition yet. TR – if you don’t have phone number for local property manager at Ewing & Clark, let me know & I’ll send it to you.

    Comment by SKB — 6:37 pm August 21, 2012 #

  13. Contact would have to be initiated by PSBC – as journalists, we don’t and can’t mediate – we’re just publishing the request – maybe send Krista the suggestion? – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:40 pm August 21, 2012 #

  14. Hmmm I tried to get them to come out last summer and they needed 20 put screened signed pledges of donors.

    Comment by Nichole — 7:34 pm August 21, 2012 #

  15. Mickeymse, I completely share your frustration & outrage at this discriminatory policy. As a gay man who has been in a monogamous relationship for almost 19 years, I’m probably safer than many people who regularly donate blood. So until this policy changes, I have little concern for the needs of the Puget Sound Blood Center.

    Comment by David — 9:38 pm August 21, 2012 #

  16. I donated blood today so was very interested in reading this discussion. Over the years of donating, I have seen the screening process get more and more simplified. The screeners no longer verbally ask you the questions and you now respond via a tablet. Also, the screening questionnaire became shorter. As DRS mentioned, the science of donor screening has progressed a lot and provides safer blood products to those in need. There is research to find a way to extend the lifespan of blood products but that is still research. Donors are very much needed. Those who can and want to donate should be able to donate.

    Comment by LyndaB — 10:26 pm August 21, 2012 #

  17. I think the large parking lot on California by the Rite-Aid would be a great spot. Might be worth checking into.

    Comment by SLS — 11:32 pm August 21, 2012 #

  18. It’s not technically a discrimination policy, it’d FDA regulations. The FDA regulations were changed in 1998 to prevent me from donating, yet after many conversations with my GP as well as expensive testing – I chose to lie and donate. When so many people cannot legitimately donate it seems stupid for me not to. My bloody was perfectly acceptable until 1998. The FDA can keep their laws off of my blood.

    Comment by MadCowDisease — 7:20 am August 22, 2012 #

  19. The blood bank is welcome to use our parking lot at the SW Precinct

    Captain Steven Paulsen
    Seattle Police Department

    Comment by Steven Paulsen — 8:28 am August 22, 2012 #

  20. Good morning,
    Thank you so much for your responses! I appreciate the discussion- especially regarding the FDA policy about The ban on donations by gay men. It is indeed a sensitive subject- there are so many people who want to give out of kindness and we do wish everyone were able to.

    Here is an article in the LA Times where our President, who was also the President of the American Association of Blood Banks speaks up about lifting the ban on behalf of not just Puget Sound Blood Center, but AABB as well..  At least it’s clear where our own position lies despite the FDA mandate:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/oct/10/health/la-he-gay-men-blood-donors-20111010

    “A lifetime blood-donation ban on men who have sex with men does not reduce the risk of HIV entering the blood supply, according to AABB President Dr. James P. AuBuchon, who was featured in this Los Angeles Times article on the cases for and against the ban. HIV tests are now more advanced and can detect infection earlier, AuBuchon said. “This effort to lift the lifetime ban is not a matter of increasing the number of blood donors. Rather, it’s a matter of trying to apply known and accepted evidence in order to change a policy that made sense 28 years ago but doesn’t make sense today,” he added.” -Los Angeles Times
     
    I think this could be a great opportunity to educate people on what they can do to have the restrictions changed.  Since blood is considered a pharmaceutical product, all of the blood centers are regulated by the FDA.  At this time, the FDA has a lifetime deferral for several instances where the donor is probably perfectly healthy:
    ·        Persons who lived or traveled to the UK during certain periods in the 80s & 90s
    ·        Men who have had sex with other men at any time since 1977
    ·        IV drug users (even one time)
    ·        Persons who have spent 5+ years in Europe since 1980
    ·        People who have taken Beef/Bovine Insulin for diabetes
    ·        People who have received a growth hormone from HPG
    The PSBC is a member of AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) & ABC (America’s Blood Centers) and their members have lobbied the FDA to change the MSM lifetime deferral.  At this time they are unwilling to do so.  We encourage those who disagree with the current FDA policy to:
    1.      Contact the FDA at 10903 New Hampshire Ave Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002 or 888-463-6332
    2.      Contact your congressional representative in the House & Senate
    a.      https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
    b.      http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
    Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), and Sen. John Kerry (DMass.) sent a letter to the FDA urging them to change the policy which was co-signed by dozens of their congressional colleagues.  This led to a meeting last year of the Advisory Committee for Blood Safety and Availability.  While they voted 6-9 against lifting the deferral, they also voted that the deferral was suboptimal and that HHS needs to conduct the research necessary to evaluate eliminating/reducing the deferral.

    Comment by Krista Fink — 9:18 am August 22, 2012 #

  21. Additionally, Please check out the recent article from CNN About how Congress is actively reviewing the ban. While I don’t think it should take a blood shortage to stimulate this change, it’s a good start!

    About the blood drives… I am out of the office all day today so please feel free to call me on my cell phone (206) 422-1686. I really appreciate your help, Thanks again!

    Comment by Krista Fink — 9:22 am August 22, 2012 #

  22. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/06/health/gay-men-blood-ban/index.html

    Comment by Krista Fink — 9:22 am August 22, 2012 #

  23. Thank you for your thoughtful responses, Krista… While I’m personally aware of the work done by PSBC to change this policy — and would not have otherwise linked to the article — it does not change the fact that you’re still enforcing the discrimination.
    .
    Far too many government agencies and non-profits give a pass to blood drives around here, when they would not do so for, say, the Boy Scouts or Salvation Army — two examples of organizations that are known nationally for discrimination policies, although local reps have also advocated against them.
    .
    While I hate advocating against helping out our health system locally, it should be considered offensive to ask me to lie about who I am just so I can give blood — an act that as recently as the Bush Administration and 9/11 was deemed “patriotic.”

    Comment by Mickymse — 4:26 pm August 22, 2012 #

  24. Thanks for the heads-up about the PSBC’s need for West Seattle locations. We at the Highland Park Improvement Club, located at 1116 SW Holden Street, have sent them a message offering our parking lot as a location for the mobile unit.

    Comment by BlairJ — 12:58 pm August 23, 2012 #

  25. Please visit Saving Lives With Helpful Guys (savingliveswithhelpfulguys.com). This website is an educational resource center for policy directors, civil rights activists, students, members of the medical community, and the public at large who are dedicated to safely and sensibly reforming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Gay Blood Ban.

    Comment by Kyle Carlson — 5:35 pm August 23, 2012 #

  26. Mickymse- if everyone stopped hold blood drives in protest of the ban… We wouldn’t be able to collect enough blood to meet the needs of local patients. Currently we are supporting a 3 month old baby at Children’s Hospital who has needed a blood transfusion nearly every day of her life so far. That’s a lot of blood- and a lot of donors needed to support her. It’s just an unfortunate situation- it’s our responsibility to maintain a safe and stable blood supply for the community to the very best of our ability. I’m so sorry… :|

    Comment by Krista Fink — 2:25 pm August 24, 2012 #

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