As of this morning, Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) is again adequately prepared with blood supply for the 15 hospitals it serves in western and central Arkansas. Since Thursday, Dec. 5, ABI had faced a blood emergency with less than a one-day supply available.
“We have seen a strong response from patient and kind-hearted blood donors who have lined up in our donor centers and at blood drives this week,” said John Armitage, M.D., President and CEO. “Our community spirit has shown bright once again, helping us restore a sufficient supply. We thank all who have made giving a priority.”
Due to its limited time for use, maintaining a three-to-five day blood supply is deemed appropriate by Arkansas Blood Institute and other blood centers across the nation. More would result in the personal gift of blood donors going unused before expiration.
Even with today’s optimistic report, however, Arkansas Blood Institute officials are concerned about the blood supply in the coming weeks. Extended weather forecasts suggest more winter storms around December 21. On Christmas Eve, the Fort Smith donor center will be open, but no blood will be donated on Christmas Day.
According to ABI, this leaves the blood supply particularly vulnerable should inclement weather occur next weekend. Arkansas Blood Institute urges everyone 16 years* and older who is healthy and has not already donated in the past 56 days to visit the donor center or a blood drive before Friday.
“We believe that donating blood, especially when a storm is predicted, should go hand-in-hand with filling up the car’s gas tank, taking care of pipes that might freeze and loading up on bags of ice melt,” said Armitage. “As we have just seen, it only takes a day or two of inclement weather for us to see significant reductions in our blood supply. Donors can’t come to our centers, and many blood drives are cancelled, but the needs of patients - young and old - continue in our hospitals.”
To schedule an appointment to donate blood, call 1-877-340-8777, or visit www.arkbi.org.
* 16 year olds must weigh at least 125 and provide signed parental permission, 17 year olds must weigh at least 125 pounds, 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.