Tahlequah Daily Press

February 7, 2014

Blood emergency declared across state


TAHLEQUAH — Oklahoma Blood Institute has declared a blood emergency across the state as its supply has reached a less than one-day inventory level.

Declines in blood donation due to winter weather have left the blood inventory critically low. Many school and business blood drives have been canceled.

Blood drives have been set for Tuesday, Feb. 11 at two Tahlequah locations: Tahlequah High School, Performing Arts Center Lobby, 625 N. Jones, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Cherokee Nation, ballroom behind the Restaurant of the Cherokees, U.S. Highway 62, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

“The need for donation is constant, since blood has a limited time for use,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO. “The last few days we’ve had a decrease in the number of blood donors. With a typical supply of three to five days, it only takes a day or two of inclement weather to put us into an emergency status.”

Donors with OBI provide every drop of blood for patients in 144 medical facilities across the state.

“Presently, there are adequate supplies of blood at hospitals we serve to meet the needs of patients, but our projections for need and expected donors within the next few days cause great concern,” said Armitage.

OBI encourages all Oklahomans, age 16 and older, who are able to safely travel, to donate. Donations typically take about an hour and can be made every 56 days.

Appointments to donate are not required but can be made online at www.obi.org or by calling (877) 340-8777.

Although all blood types are needed, those with O-negative type blood are especially urged to give. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, those with O-negative blood type make up only nine percent of the national population. However, O-negative blood can be used by anyone in an emergency situation, regardless of their type.