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February 8, 2014

Blood supply at critical low

NORMAN — The Oklahoma Blood Institute has declared a blood emergency across the state as its stockpile has reached a less than one-day supply.

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

“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 Oklahoma Blood Institute 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,” Armitage said.

All Oklahomans, age 16 and older, who are able to safely travel are eligible to donate. Sixteen year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; and anyone 18 or older must weigh at least 110 pounds. Donations typically take about an hour and can be made every 56 days.

Area Oklahoma Blood Institute donor centers are located at: Norman, 1004 24th Ave. N.W., Suite 101; central Oklahoma City, 901 N. Lincoln Blvd.; north Oklahoma City, 5105 N. Portland Ave.; Edmond, 3409 S. Broadway, Suite 300. 

Hours of operation are listed at obi.org. Appointments to donate are not required but can be made online 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 9 percent of the national population. However, O-negative blood can be used by anyone in an emergency situation, regardless of their type.

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