OBI declares blood shortage emergency

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Jun. 25—The Oklahoma Blood Institute issued a blood shortage emergency this week as donations have dropped in the last month across the state.

OBI states the shortage has been worsened by consistently high hospital usage, leaving blood centers around the nation short of all blood types heading into the upcoming July 4 holiday.

"In the past month, we've seen a dramatic drop in blood donations, an alarming development when we were already facing chronic shortfalls," said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute in a press release. "The public is rightly enjoying the reawakening of social freedoms and a return to normalcy, but if celebrating this rebirth by giving blood does not immediately become a major part of people's reopening activities, we are going to run out of blood for patients. Harm may well result for many of the sickest folks in our communities."

According to OBI, the current local blood supply is currently at a one-to-two-day supply — well below the usual four-to-five-day threshold the institute feels secure having on hand.

"If Oklahomans don't hear the call and regain their pre-pandemic levels of generosity, we're facing serious damage to the transfusion care that our hospital partners normally provide," Armitage said. "We keep thinking that COVID-related problems can't get worse, but we now have the worst stock levels I have seen in my 26 years of blood banking. We need the Oklahoma Standard to gear up into overdrive to carry us out of the sputtering pattern of repeated crises that is starting to emerge post-COVID. We're pleading with our past, present, and future donors to help now."

OBI is encouraging all eligible Oklahomans, age 16 and older, to donate blood as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment to give blood, call 1-877-340-8777 or visit www.obi.org.

According to OBI, a handful of blood drives are scheduled in the McAlester area through the month of July.

On July 5, a mobile blood drive will be at the McAlester Choctaw Casino at 1638 S George Nigh Expy. from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Two mobile blood drives will be held July 12 at the South and Main distribution centers for Komar.

The South distribution center, located at 10 Komar Drive in McAlester, will be from 8:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and at the main center, located at 400 West Chickasaw in McAlester from Noon to 3:15 p.m.

Farmers State Bank of Quinton will host a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 16 at 1100 Main Street in Quinton.

OBI will be at the Haileyville Community Blood Drive on July 21 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Haileyville City Hall, 510 Main Street in Haileyville.

Wilburton will host the Boots and Badges Community Blood Drive on July 23 from 8:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. at 806 Highway 2 in Wilburton.

OBI states volunteer donors exclusively provide every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide and that one donation saves up to three lives. The institute states it depends on an average of 1,200 donors per day to meet the needs of patients in our state.

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