Bloodpak: Winning the “Women’s Battle” in Africa

February 27, 2017 at 12:12 pm


In Uganda giving birth is locally called “Orutaro rwabakyara” translated “the women’s battle” and is considered equivalent to a death sentence, largely arising from blood hemorrhage.

Bleeding is the #1 cause of maternal mortality worldwide and takes the lives of 659,000 women in developing nations each year.

The research team at Bloodworks has found a way to help. We invented Bloodpak, an emergency blood transfusion platform to provide transfusion therapy anytime, anywhere. Bloodpak is a self-contained, just-in-time method of blood delivery that provides all of the supplies, point-of-care blood tests to ensure safe transfusion, and clinical decision support to guide the process on a smartphone. This medical innovation fits in a backpack and simplifies delivery by eliminating the cold chain and storage time-dependencies. It leverages innovation in blood testing and mobile technology to make blood transfusions in the field using local real-time donors possible.

Now our challenge is, how can we increase blood transfusion utilization and enable health systems to adopt Bloodpak as a solution?

We’ve been fast at work, and Bloodpak is now a finalist in the Kenya County Innovation Challenge Fund.

A part of a five-year programme funded by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), the Kenya County Innovation Challenge Fund supports the Government of Kenya’s efforts to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in partnership with UNICEF, Marie Stopes International / Options Consultancy Services Limited (Options), the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), and others.

As a finalist, we are in Nairobi and able to collaborate with local partners so that we can mobilize Bloodpak into communities and provide life-saving treatment to patients in Kenya.

To learn more about Bloodwork Northwest’s Bloodpak research innovation visit

Linda Barnes Bloodpak

Follow us on Twitter to receive real time updates from our Chief Operating Officer Linda Barnes at the Kenya County Innovation Challenge Fund.

Better Patient Care: Transfusion Labs In-Hospital

February 1, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Bloodworks Labs

With about five million Americans receiving blood every year, transfusions are the most frequently performed in-hospital medical procedure. Bloodworks is responding to this need by setting up full-service transfusion laboratories right inside the hospitals we serve.

Bloodworks has opened labs in seven Puget Sound-area hospitals: Seattle Children’s, UW Valley Medical Center, Swedish Cherry Hill and First Hill and Issaquah, Evergreen Hospital, and Overlake Medical Center. Together, the Bloodworks transfusion labs support nearly 4,500 patient beds.

Staffed 24/7 by Bloodworks specialists, the labs are able to test and crossmatch patient blood samples with blood components stored at the hospital. Our fast turnaround times mean patients get quicker, more effective care, while hospitals get maximum access to transfusion expertise and great service. Both patients and hospitals can count on our commitment to blood safety.

Innovation meets patient needs

  • Bloodworks has equipped four Puget Sound-area hospitals with HemoSafe blood dispensers. These ultra-smart refrigerators store up to 110 units of blood and give hospitals immediate access to a full range of red cell types and plasma—all tested and transfusion-ready. In 2016, our hospital partners used HemoSafes to dispense more than 15,000 units of blood.
  • Our Portland lab provides regular and emergency distribution of 60,000 units of blood components annually to local hospitals in Vancouver, southwestern Washington, and throughout the Portland Metro region.

One pint of blood can do more good than ever. Schedule your appointment to donate blood today.

Comprehensive Care for the Whole Family

February 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm

The Estell familyDoctors knew something was drastically wrong when Henry Etsell, then one year old, lost two-thirds of his blood during routine surgery. He would spend the next five days at Seattle Children’s receiving multiple blood transfusions and clotting factor to control his bleeding.

Henry’s parents, Chad and Nicolette Etsell, were in for a shock—Henry had hemophilia. Henry’s younger brother, Graham, would later receive the same diagnosis.

Henry EstellFortunately, the Etsells could turn to the Hemophilia Care Program at Washington Center for Bleeding Disorders (WCBD) for help and support. Located at Bloodworks, the WCBD has been a resource for people with bleeding disorders for more than 40 years. The Etsells were among 450 patients treated by the WCBD last year.

It turns out Nicolette is a symptomatic carrier of the hemophilia gene and has mild hemophilia. She goes to the center for her annual physical and other checkups, and Henry and Graham both receive regular care from a team of doctors and nurses at Seattle Children’s who partner closely with WCBD to care for children with bleeding disorders. And thanks to the center’s 24-hour telephone helpline, the Etsells can get advice anytime from hemophilia nurse specialists.

“The WCBD has changed our whole outlook on living with hemophilia,” Nicolette says. “We now have the tools and resources to keep our family healthy and live our lives with the disease just in the background.”

Help families like the Estells—schedule your blood donation appointment today.

Volunteers: A Lifesaving Link

February 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm


Kendra was in and out of the hospital because of her sickle cell disease. She contracted meningitis three times, suffered a stroke, and was frequently in pain—all before she turned 13.

Her life changed after receiving her first blood transfusion. Today, more than two decades and many transfusions later, thousands of blood donors have given Kendra continued health and hope.

“When I receive transfusions, I think about the people who spent the time donating and what their story is,” says Kendra, who receives care from Bloodworks Northwest Patient Services department.

Volunteers play a vital role in connecting lifesaving blood with local patients in need. It takes 800 donors a day in the Northwest to roll up their sleeves, supported by more than 65 volunteers who give their time to support this essential process.

Motivated by her profound gratitude, Kendra began volunteering at the Bloodworks Federal Way Donor Center. As a donor monitor in the canteen, she cares for donors post-donation with juice, cookies, and conversation. Kendra also recently completed training that will prepare her to greet and register donors when they first arrive.

Most people never get to meet the fortunate recipient of their donations—Kendra is changing that with a warm greeting and smile for every donor she meets.

Keep incredible people like Kendra going. Schedule a visit to a donor center near you.

Doubling the Odds for Beating Cancer

February 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Gina Grein

After six months of strange but explainable health occurrences—low energy, a leg bruise, discolored gums—Gina Grein went to her doctor.

She was immediately sent to the ER where she received four units of blood. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed the worst: Gina had acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The prognosis was grim—10 months to live with no treatment; a 39% chance of survival with standard chemotherapy.

After five months of chemo, Gina’s cancer went into remission, only to return a year later. Her care team at UW Medical Center recommended a progressive procedure: after head-to-toe radiation and transfusions, Gina received a double cord blood transplant donated by two generous moms.

Gina Grein

Success. Relief. Remission.

Twenty months later, Gina is slowly rebuilding her immune system, her energy is returning, and she’s excited to be back at work, if only for a few hours a week. Gina says she is grateful for her care team, the blood donors, and the parents of the now-toddler boys whose donated cord blood saved her life.

“I think about those donors every day,” Gina says. “I’m grateful more people are aware of cord blood donation. Without it I wouldn’t be alive.”

Bloodworks partners with 12 hospitals to collect cord blood stem cells used in cancer treatment.

Help rebuild a life. Schedule your appointment to donate blood today.

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