Oklahomans Give in Spirit of Oklahoma Blood Drive

Thursday, July 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahomans responded Wednesday to deliver a life-saving gift to others in the Spirit of Oklahoma Blood Drive. More than a hundred people braved a hot July day to do their part in rebuilding a dangerously dwindling blood supply.

The mobile blood units parked outside the KOTV studios were busy most of the day, and that's just the way the local Red Cross chapter likes it. Viewers answered the call of concern about low blood supplies, and 102 of them helped replenish it.

The Red Cross says most people don't realize how much blood is required for surgeries and cancer treatment alone. "Someone undergoing a bone marrow transplant, which we're seeing lots more of those being done,” said Tulsa Red Cross spokesperson Maggie Jewell. “They're going to use one to two red cells each week, then they will use six to eight units of platelets every day for 12 weeks."

Hospitals say trauma cases create the most acute need for blood. "Motor vehicular cases, where they have liver lacerations, pelvic fractures, spleen lacerations, or what we call avulsions, where organs are literally ripped off their vascular pedicle and result in tremendous bleeding,” said St. Francis Emergency Room physician Dr. William Bickell. “The only thing you can do for those individuals is try to keep pace with it."

The Red Cross says people taking vacations, a temporary halt in college blood drives, and more accidents in summer contribute to blood shortages. These reasons, plus the fact that only five percent of those eligible to donate blood do so.

Many say they weren't aware of the importance of giving till the need touched them or someone they love. "I had to have some emergency surgery about five years ago and I needed blood so I try to donate now," said blood donor Karen Alexander.

John Fauss has donated 53 units. "I just think it's part of being a good citizen and trying to help fellow man," he said.

Giving blood is very safe. There is no chance of contracting any kind of infectious disease from giving blood. If you drink water and are properly nourished, you're not going to have any bad reaction of any kind. Giving blood doesn't make you weak for days. And it makes someone else much stronger.

Remember there's still time to donate. The Red Cross is open Monday through Saturday and the Oklahoma Blood Institute takes blood donations Monday through Friday.