Coffee Memorial Blood Center Declares Emergency Blood Shortage

January 18, 2024

Blood donors urgently needed as cancelled appointments, blood drives impact supply.

January 16, 2024 - As winter weather moved into the area this past week, blood donors began cancelling appointments and blood drives were delayed, forcing an already struggling blood supply to critically low levels. This blood shortage has the potential to impact hospitals and patients in need.

Coffee Memorial Blood Center, who is part of Our Blood Institute (OBI), is asking donors to reschedule appointments and come in to donate as soon as possible as the weather clears.

Right now, CMBC, only has a 1 - 2-day supply of blood, which is well below our safe stock level. For over a week, CMBC has been sending out more blood to hospitals than it is bringing in from donors. If this continues, it could impact treatments for cancer, scheduling of surgeries, and transfusions of all types. OBI is not alone in this blood deficit. In the last few weeks, other blood providers across the nation have also declared emergency blood shortages.

Coffee Memorial Blood Center is the sole provider of blood to the Texas Panhandle.

"January is always a difficult time, as blood donations are typically slow during the holidays and in the weeks following, and the winter weather is magnifying the problem," said Dr. John Armitage, Coffee Memorial Blood Center president and CEO. "Since the start of the year, blood donations are lagging significantly, and fewer people are donating. We urgently ask the public to step up and help secure their community blood supply."

Successful donors will receive a short-sleeved, glow-in-the-dark "When I'm Not Hibernating, I'm Donating Blood" T-shirt and a ticket to Escape The Trap House.

Blood can be donated every 56 days. Platelets can be donated as often as every seven days, up to 24 times a year.

"Blood has no substitute," Armitage said. "Patients across the state rely on blood products to fight cancer, survive trauma and heal after childbirth. Blood donation takes about an hour and can save up to three lives."

Anyone who is healthy and 16 years old* or older can give blood. Appointments to donate can be made online at obi.org or by calling 877-340-8777. Walk-ins are also welcome.

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds. Photo ID required.

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Coffee Memorial Blood Center is part of Our Blood Institute, the sixth-largest independent blood center in the nation, with 16 donor centers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. CMBC provides blood to all major hospitals in the High Plains region.



Butch Reed