BLOOD EMERGENCY: Anyone 16 years or older* is urged to donate blood at Washington Park Mall on Saturday, July 3rd 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All donors will receive a summer t-shirt and choice of admission: 2 entries to Safari Joe’s H20, 1 entry to Frontier City or 1 entry to Science Museum Oklahoma. Blood donation takes about an hour and can save up to three local lives. Appointments can be made at obi.org or by calling 877-340-8777. Walk-ins welcome!
A nationwide blood shortage has reached Oklahoma, as blood donations have reached emergency low levels. 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 4th holiday period.
The local blood supply is currently at a 1-2 day supply, well below the usual 4-5 day threshold Oklahoma Blood Institute feels secure having on hand.
“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. “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.”
The critically low blood supply is more dangerous than it has ever been because nationwide shortages have dried up the emergency safety net usually provided by sharing of units between blood centers. Blood has no substitute, and patients across the state rely on blood products every day to fight cancer, survive trauma and heal after childbirth.
“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.”
While COVID-19 vaccination is not required of blood donors, those who have been vaccinated can donate immediately, assuming they are feeling well.
Oklahoma Blood Institute is the 6th-largest independent blood center in the nation, providing more than 90% of Oklahoma’s blood supply to over 160 hospitals and medical facilities. For more information, visit obi.org.
*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. Photo ID required.