By SEAN ROWLEY
Faced with less than a one-day supply of blood, Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) declared a blood emergency Thursday. Since then, 40 scheduled blood drives have been canceled due to weather conditions. Some 1,600 blood donors were expected at those blood drives.
Donors with OBI provide every drop of blood for patients in more than 144 medical facilities throughout the state - 25 of those in the Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma area - including: Saint Francis Health System, Integris and Mercy Systems, OU Medical Center, the VA Hospitals in Muskogee and OKC, all Indian Health Facilities, as well as Cancer Treatment Center, Tulsa Spine and Specialty Hospital, and Tulsa Life Flight.
“We have seen a strong response from Oklahomans wanting to help. The supply is inching back up, but so far this week, more blood drives have been lost,” said John Armitage, M.D., President and CEO. “To maintain a sufficient supply for all the patients relying on us, an average of 600 donors a day is needed. The need for blood is constant no matter what the weather, due to its limited time for use. A few days of diminished donation has a huge impact.”
OBI encourages all Oklahomans, age 16* and older, who are able to safely travel to donate blood as soon as possible. Hours for OBI Tulsa Donor Center are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday – 8 a.m. to noon.
“Recovery” blood drives have also been scheduled as listed below. (Those conducted at schools are subject to the same cancellations as classes held at them.)
Thursday, December 12
- Cherokee Nation, Ballroom/Restaurant building, Tahlequah, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Friday, December 13
- Morris High School, Cafetorium, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
- Jay High School, Bulldog Arena, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday, December 15
- International Gospel Center, Tulsa, OBI bloodmobile, 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.
Monday, December 16
- Broken Arrow Rotarians, OBI bloodmobile at First Methodist Church, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Fort Gibson Community, OBI bloodmobile at Armstrong Bank, Noon-4 p.m.
Tuesday, December 17
- INTEGRIS Baptist Regional Health Center, Miami Room, Miami, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Community Care College, 3rd Floor Classroom, Tulsa, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. AND 5-8 p.m.
Wednesday, December 18 and Friday, December 20
- Saint Francis Hospital, Education Center, 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 20
- Checotah Community, Checotah Senior Activity Center, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
“There are adequate supplies of blood to meet the needs of patients now at the hospitals we serve, but our projections for need within the coming days cause great concern,” said Armitage.
Donations take about an hour and can be made every 56 days. To schedule an appointment to donate blood at any OBI site, call (877) 340-8777, or visit www.obi.org.
Oklahoma Blood Institute is the ninth largest, non-profit blood center in America.
* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.