Blood supply low, donations needed

Wednesday, December 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- War, influenza, holiday shopping and terrorism fears are helping to deplete Oklahoma's blood supply reserves.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute in Oklahoma City and the American Red Cross Blood Services in Tulsa are beginning to feel the effects of the shortage.

Blood institute officials say there were two-thousand-686 pints, or units, of blood in reserve a month ago. Now there are 774.

Blood institute president Ronald Gilcher says if a big tragedy happens, those reserves could go very quickly.

The institute provides blood to patients in 90 hospitals in 56 counties, including all Oklahoma City-area hospitals.

In Tulsa, Red Cross Blood Services officials say the flu has hit its supplies hard.

Spokeswoman Jan Hale says besides illness, the holidays make it more difficult to collect blood donations.