Flooding, severe weather causes drought in blood supply

Oklahoma Blood Institute

ENID, Okla. — Flooding and severe weather across Oklahoma has critically impacted Oklahoma Blood Institute’s supply of lifesaving blood.

OBI is issuing a call to donors of all blood types to give blood as soon as possible to prevent a shortage.

Days of severe weather, tornadoes and widespread flooding, particularly affecting areas along the Arkansas River, have contributed to a sharp downturn in donations.

OBI depends on about 1,200 donors per day to maintain a robust blood supply; however, blood drive collections are at least two days behind due to numerous blood drive cancellations amid weather concerns.

“This weather emergency is something we have not seen in many years. Dozens of blood drives have been canceled or postponed, and many people are unable to keep their regular donation appointments. However, our local patients are still depending on blood,” said John Armitage, M.D., OBI president and CEO. “The Oklahoma Standard of neighbor helping neighbor always shines through in difficult times. That’s why we’re calling on all healthy Oklahomans who have an hour of time to spare to give blood at their nearest donor center or mobile blood drive.”

OBI encourages all Oklahomans, age 16 and older, to donate blood as soon as they can. Donors 16 year of age must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; donors 17 years of age must weigh at least 125 pounds; donors 18 and older must weigh at least 110 pounds.

To schedule an appointment to give blood, call (877) 340-8777 or visit obi.org to see a list of donor centers and mobile blood drives.

Volunteer donors with OBI exclusively provide every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. One donation saves up to three lives. Patients rely on blood to survive an emergency injury or illness or for ongoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening diseases and conditions.

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains. He can be reached at crains@enidnews.com.

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