Arkansas Blood Institute Implements Emergency Appeal Due To Blood Shortage

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The rain and winter weather conditions are affecting local blood supply, forcing the Arkansas Blood Institute to implement an emergency appeal for all types of blood donors.

The blood institute typically performs about 100 procedures per day to keep up with the blood supply demand at nearby hospitals, but that number has decreased drastically.

"It`s been hard to get the amount of people to come in to donate blood," Donor Recruitment Manager Danny Cervantes with the Arkansas Blood Institute said.

The shortage has forced about 800 donations in Arkansas and Oklahoma to be cancelled.

Also an issue for the blood bank is flu season.

"If you have the flu or any kind of antibiotics, you can`t give blood," Cervantes said. "There`s also people taking certain preventative medications and there`s certain preventative medications that you`re deferred for about seven days and that`s hurting us, as well."

Mark Oberste comes to donate blood every three to four months, but after learning about the shortage, he decided to fight the rain to give back sooner.

"I know that there`s a need for it," Oberste said. "It just makes me feel better after I do it. I feel like I`m giving something back."

Oberste said donating blood is actually easier than most think.

"The people here are super quick, they`ll get you in and out," Oberste said. "It`s easy, it`s practically painless, you`ll feel really good about it afterwards for sure."

The hours at the Arkansas Blood Institute have also been extended in Fort Smith so more people can find time to come in.

It will be open Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m., and Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

There will also be a blood drive at the Neighborhood Walmart in Fort Smith on Hwy. 71 from 11:00 a.m.-3:45 p.m.

Those with the Arkansas Blood Institute said they take care of blood supply locally, then help the institutes in Oklahoma and Texas, as well.

For more about how to donate or the Arkansas Blood Institute, click here.