One person's blood, another's lifesaver

  • Published
  • By A1C Jennifer Jackson
  • Public Affairs
Oklahoma Blood Institute has conducted base blood drives here since 1977.
The last drive was Aug. 27 with a turn out of 93 people, 74 whom were able to donate a total of 122 units of blood, according to A1C Jeffery Wheeler, 71st Medical Group and base blood drive coordinator.
The blood collected on base goes to 94 hospitals across the state of Oklahoma. Donations are also sent to Lackland AFB through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense. The numbers are set by the total amount of units that are collected at the base blood drive. "During the height of the war with Iraq, 10 percent of all blood going to the US Army was coming from the Oklahoma Blood Institute and its donors," said Kelly McPhail, Blood Program Consultant at OBI.
There are many times when someone may be in need of a blood transfusion. Sometimes blood is needed after a surgery or a trauma resulting in blood loss or even a blood disease.
Airman Wheeler has seen first hand how important blood donations can be. In 1998, his family received a phone call from their family doctor. His 3-year-old sister's lab work had shown she was extremely anemic and must get an emergency transfusion. Without a supply of blood available she could have died. She later received a bone marrow transplant and has been fine since.
You never know where the blood is going.
"The blood you give may be someone's only chance for survival," Airman Wheeler said.
Kelly McPhail points out that approximately 56 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only 5 percent actually do. In Oklahoma, 13 percent of the population gives blood. Donors can give blood every 56 days. O negative is greatly needed since it can be given to anybody. Donating only takes about 30 to 45 minutes, including the paperwork process and the cookie and juice time. A donor must be at least 17 years old and weigh 105 lbs or more. It is best if you eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before donating.
Other chances to donate are Oct. 22 and Dec. 17. Those would like to donate before that time may call for an appointment at 233-9323 or drop by 301 E Cherokee in Enid.