Winter weather has impacted the state in a number of ways this week, including the Oklahoma Blood Institute’s supply of life-saving blood.
Now that the weather is clearing, OBI is in urgent need of donors. Two area blood drives were cancelled due to school closures at Southern Tech and Springer High School, as were many other drives across the state.
All blood types are needed now as the state is looking at a one day supply. “Think of it like when you go to the store for bread and milk when the weather is bad,” said Susan Crews, Ardmore OBI director. “Other people get theirs and then there’s nothing left on the shelf.” Severe outages can disrupt services and affect hospital patients and cause surgeries to be cancelled.
Due to the disruptions because of the weather, only about half the usual donors needed to maintain the supply have been able to donate. As a result, Oklahoma Blood Institute needs to recover the deficit and still meet regular blood needs. “The urgency for patients is going to continue for the next several days until our inventory rebounds,” said Dr. John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. Due to the urgency of the situation, hours at all donor centers statewide will be extended until 6 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 23 and until 4 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 24. Donors can also find local drives at  
Oklahoma Blood Institute provides every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.  O-negative blood is especially necessary in an emergency situation when blood type is unknown. Every three seconds, someone in the state is in need of blood, but only 6 percent of the eligible population donates. “We urge our fellow citizens to donate if they can.  Being able to carry and administer blood enhances patient care and ultimately helps improve patient outcomes,” said Med-Trans representative Patrick Barkley. “Without blood, the difference could really be between life or death.” Donation typically takes about an hour and each donation saves up to three lives. Anyone 16 and up who meets the criteria can donate. Questions and appointment requests can be directed to 1-877-340-8777 or logging on to