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Oklahoma Blood Institute calls for donations as blood supply falls below 50 percent

Posted at 10:25 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 23:25:42-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Blood Institute is issuing an emergency blood appeal. Its supply is less than half of what hospitals and patients need.

Joe Courtney is a regular platelet donor. He sits in a chair at the OBI in Tulsa knowing he'll be there a while as he donates.

“I think this is 126 donations," he said.

He started donating blood in high school. Now, there’s a reason he keeps coming back.

“As it turns out for me, in a way, in a real way, it saved my life," Courtney said. “You come in to donate, they check your iron and everything else. And it turned out to be deficient. And, eventually, I went to the doctor and he says you have cancer.”

An act to help others became a favor in return. Now that he’s healthy, Courtney continues to give back through his platelet donation.

But OBI needs more. It typically keeps a three to five-day blood supply available, but currently has only enough for one to two days.

“There’s no substitute for blood," said Jan Laub, executive director of the Oklahoma Blood Institute. "It is from one person to another, willingly giving blood-saving life to somebody.”

There’s been an ongoing blood shortage since the pandemic; however, there hasn’t been an emergency appeal since last summer. Laub said, along with the constant shortage, hospitals are now needing more blood supply as elective surgeries return.

“Once those hospitals start using the product again, and if we don’t have our donations come up, then that’s where we get into trouble," she said.

Laub is now calling on businesses and churches to host blood drives to ensure those donations stay steady.

As for Courtney, he’ll continue doing his part.

“It’s to help others," he said. "I’m not super rich so it’s not like I can be a philanthropist that way, so this is the way to do it.”

The Oklahoma Blood Institute extended its donation hours.

· Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

· Saturday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

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