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American Red Cross declares national blood crisis

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:53 PM CST
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - On Tuesday the American Red Cross announced a national blood crisis declaring it the worst blood shortage in over a decade.

Susan Crews with the Oklahoma Blood Institute says that OBI is not facing the same shortage, however donations are lower than usual.

“We just don’t see the number of donors at blood drives that we’re use to seeing,” Crews said. “We have a lot of cancellations of appointments or even sometimes blood drives.”

Crews says beyond finding donors it’s also been difficult staffing phlebotomists to collect donations.

“That’s been going on since the beginning of COVID actually but right now we do have enough staff to operate so we’re not in crises with that,” Crews said. “But of course if any of them get sick then that could be a problem.”

Blood donations are needed for a wide range of medical procedures including any surgery or trauma cases as well as extracting platelets for cancer patients.

“There’s never not a need its a daily need and we need about 1,200 to 1,400 units a day to supply the state of Oklahoma,” Crews said.

To help incentive people to come donate for a limited time the OBI is offering free antibody testing with every donation.

“That goes through the end of the month and what’s good about that is it tests for both the vaccine antibody response and if you’ve also had the infection,” Crews said.

The shortage means that its more important than ever for those who are healthy enough to give blood to do so.

“You have to be at least 16 years old with parental permission, if you’re 17 or older of course you can just come in and donate,” said Crews. “There’s no upper age limit so as long as you’re in good health and you are in that age time frame then you can donate blood.”

The OBI has donation centers in Ardmore and Ada and information on where to find mobile donation centers and blood drives can be found on the OBI website.

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