Several days of severe weather have critically impacted the Oklahoma Blood Institute’s supply of blood.
Oklahoma Blood Institute Marketing and Media Manager Heather Browne said the institute depends on 1,200 donors each day to keep up with the 160 hospitals the institute serves, but with recent storm systems passing through the institute is about two days behind.
Typically the Blood Institute has at least two to three days worth of blood on its shelves in order to ensure that it is well stocked and prepared for emergencies, Browne said.
“We canceled our blood drive so we lost collections there and then also people weren’t able to come in for their regular blood donation appointments,” Browne said.
Other outside factors also played a role in this unique emergency, said Ardmore Donor Center Executive Director Susan Crew.
“School is getting out and people are going on vacation so there’s not as many people available to donate,” Crew said. “It’s just kind of one of those perfect storms where everything has come together and created this deficit.”
Crew said the entire state of Oklahoma is seeing a shortage and if more donors don’t come in over the weekend the supply chain will continue to be interrupted. This poses potential issues for patients who rely on blood to survive emergency injuries or illnesses.
To counteract the deficit several donation centers across the state will have more staff on duty and expanded hours over Memorial Day weekend, with some opening on Sunday and Monday, Browne said.
The Ardmore Donor Center will be open on Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon and have extra staff on Saturday. Individuals can check online to see when their local donor centers will be open, Browne said.
Crew said most donors are able to get in and out within an hour by completing a questionnaire online prior to their visit that can help save them 10 to 15 minutes . To schedule an appointment to give blood, individuals can call 1-877-340-8777 or visit obi.org.
“The need for blood doesn’t go down— it can actually go up depending on accidents and things like that,” Crew said. “I think a lot of people think ‘Well, it’s just going to be there.’ And they don’t think about it, you know it’s perishable and if you don’t come in and donate somebody else isn’t going to come in and do it, you need to do it.”