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The Lawton Constitution

Blood donors asked to contribute to


critical supply aboard air ambulances
Blood drives Friday

BY SHEILA ROBINSON

STAFF WRITER
SROBINSON@SWOKNEWS.COM

Every day in Oklahoma a


wreck, injury or illness means
someone needs emergency air
transportation. But only one of
Oklahomas 23 air ambulances
carries a full supply of a crucial
life-saving tool, O-negative blood.
On Wednesday, members of Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) visited Comanche County Memorial
Hospital for a news conference as
part of their effort to set a higher
standard of emergency care for
trauma victims. OBI wants every
air ambulance fully stocked with
O-negative blood. The blood center is calling on potential donors to
step forward to help fill this critical need.
O-negative blood is a universal
life saver because anyone can receive it, Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of OBI said. First
responders equipped with O-negative blood can begin treatment imSEE BLOOD, 3A

Walters: Noon-4 p.m., Cotton Electric Cooperative, 226 N. Broadway


Elgin: 1-6 p.m., Hilliary Communications, 7602 U.S. 277, Suite A

MICHAEL D. POPE/STAFF

Speakers at the Oklahoma Blood Institute news conference at Comanche County


Memorial Hospital on Wednesday included from left, Dr. John Armitage, president
and CEO of OBI;Thomas Myers, who received traumatic internal injuries in January;
Capt. Michelle Velez-Landron, company commander at Reynolds Army Community
Hospital; Dr. Richard Boatsman, chairman of the board for OBI and one of OBIs
founding physicians; and Dr. Kevin Hoos, emergency physician and emergency
room director.

Property of OPS News Tracker and members of the Oklahoma Press Association.

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The Lawton Constitution

BLOOD: One donation has


potential to save three lives
CONTINUED FROM 1A

mediately without concern for a


patients blood type. We need a
full supply of O-negative blood at
every scene, every time.
When emergency personnel
can immediately begin blood
transfusions during transport, a
trauma victims chances of survival increase.
Too many Oklahoma air ambulances take to the sky without
enough of the vital blood their
crews need to stabilize and treat
traumatic injuries, according to
Armitage. Of Oklahomas 23 air
ambulances, 18 fly with one unit
of O-negative and one unit of Opositive, and four must make do
with no blood at all.
It is critical to our communities that our neighbors receive
the highest standard of emergency care, Armitage said. We
have highly skilled emergency
responders treating trauma victims at the scene and world class
doctors and nurses in our emergency rooms. They are trained
to save lives but their hands are

often tied because the blood


their patients need is unavailable.
Dr. Richard Boatsman said not
a single patient has died at Comanche County Memorial Hospital because they couldnt get
blood. Boatsman served as an
anatomical and clinical pathologist in Lawton for more than 40
years. Hes also chairman of the
hospital foundation, chairman of
the board for OBI, and one of
OBIs founding physicians.
He said when the blood bank
began, they did not have the stringent testing procedures now
available. Blood from OBI is now
tested for Hepatitus, HIV and
they are developing testing for
Zika virus, according to Boatsman.
One of the things Im proudest
of in my career is my involvement with OBI, Boatsman said.
Developing a reliable blood supply has been OBIs goal since day
one. The need for O-negative
blood is just one part of an overall
demand that we see in hospitals
across Oklahoma. No matter your

Bik id l k

blood type, please donate. Every


donor is needed.
One donation can save up to
three lives, according to Capt.
Michelle
Velez-Landron,
Reynolds Army Hospital Company Commander. OBI can produce
three components from a single
unit of whole blood. Red blood
cells may go to a surgery patient,
plasma to a burn victim and
platelets to a child fighting cancer.
The men and women who
serve our country often find
themselves in harms way, she
said. Donating blood is a significant way to show support for
those who dedicate their lives to
protect our country.
She said she is O-negative and a
donor. If we can save a life by
giving a little blood, why not?
As an emergency room physician and director, Dr. Kevin Hoos
said when they see people come
in with hemorrhagic shock patients with 20 percent loss of
blood volume O-negative gives
them that bridge. We can give it
to anyone without having to take

b li

MICHAEL D. POPE/STAFF

From left, Claire Lindsey, a registered nurse, visits with Thomas Myers and Kristi
Bass, also an RN. The two nurses, along with Noelle Bowen, RN, and Barbara Hay,
RN, ran back and forth to get units of blood when Myers received traumatic internal injuries in January. They were only allowed one unit at a time, so they literally
ran back and forth until he received eight units, working to keep him alive.
the time to type and cross, he
said.
Thomas Myers learned first
hand how important blood donors
can be for trauma victims. Myers
said he is an EMS instructor at
Great Plains Technology Center.
In January, he fell from a 30-foot
roof, landing on his back on a concrete floor. He recieved eight
units of blood while being treated
for his injuries at Comanche
County Memorial Hospital.

h i hd

Property of OPS News Tracker and members of the Oklahoma Press Association.

Headquartered in Oklahoma
City, OBI is the ninth largest nonprofit blood center in the U.S.
Each day, its staff recruits an average of 1,100 volunteer blood
donors to save lives across the
state. OBI employs 700 staff and
is the states largest biotechnology organization.
OBI in Lawton is located at 211
SW A Ave. and the number to call
is 353-6451. Information is also
available online at obi.org.

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The Ardmoreite

OKLAHOMA BLOOD INSTITUTE

Every moment counts


OBI calls for more O-type donations
By Stephen Lamar
stephen.lamar@ardmoreite.com

It ows through our veins, is


shed for our freedoms and is
spilled everyday through wrecks,
accidents and other emergency
situations. It is the substance of
d life and potentially the substance
l. of death. It is blood.
The Oklahoma Blood Institute

held a press conference Thursday


at Mercy Hospital, Ardmore to
call for more donations of blood,
particularly O-negative blood.
O-negative is the universal blood
type, meaning any person can be
given O-negative blood and the
body will accept it. In emergency
situations, having that blood can
SEE BLOOD, PAGE 3A

Property of OPS News Tracker and members of the Oklahoma Press Association.

The Ardmoreite

BLOOD
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be the difference between life and


death.
Anyone, regardless of gender or race,
can receive O negative blood, said Dr.
Nate Claver, who is the emergency
room medical director at Mercy Hospital. Without O-negative blood, if we
were to have to try to crossmatch the
blood it takes about 45 minutes, which
a lot of people dont have 45 minutes.
The goal, in addition to encouraging
more blood donations, is to ensure each
of Oklahomas 23 air ambulances have
a full supply (or two units) of O-negative blood. The air ambulances are
called out to scenes like car wrecks and
emergencies where blood can be crucial. Currently, only one air ambulance
ies with two units of O-negative blood,
with 18 ying with one unit and four
ying out with no blood (they do carry
saline). Dr. John Armitage, OBIs CEO
and president, said he hopes Oklahoma
can change that.
O-negative blood is a universal life
saver because anyone can receive it, he
said. First responders equipped with
O-negative blood can begin treatment
immediately without concern for a
patients blood type. We need a full
supply of O-negative blood at every
scene, every time.
A patients chance of survival is increased when blood is available upon
arrival, as opposed to waiting to arrive
at the hospital, according to Armitage.
The importance of having blood on call
outs is particularly important in rural
areas, where the nearest hospital may
be quite a trip. For many patients, the
clock is ticking and having access to
blood can potentially save countless
lives.
Being able to equip every air ambulance with two units of O-negative
blood would put Oklahoma up to military level standards, something that
no other state currently has in place.
Armitage said the process would realistically take about six to nine months,
but would provide a helpful lifeline for
patients in serious condition.
You dont have to worry about cross
matching, he said. You know its one
size ts all and if youre out in the eld
and youre worried about getting somebody taken care of its one less thing to
worry about.
O-negative blood has historically
been difcult because of the high demand and it is the rarest blood type,
according to Armitage. He said that
anyone with O-negative is highly encouraged to donate blood, as their
blood is a strong asset to those trying

to save lives.
Gods given everyone their blood
type and if you have O-negative youve
been given a blessing that can be the
difference to somebody, he said. You
can give a piece of yourself and sacrice
for another and save their life.
Don Moyers had a rst hand experience of the importance of blood
availablity. After having a tumor removed, Moyers was given blood from
78 different donors through several
transfusions. Moyers, already an avid
blood donor, said the experience gave
him an even greater appreciation for
donating blood.
I promise you, you dont care whos
giving you blood when you need it,
Moyers said. And more importantly,
I get to spend more time with my
grandkids today because people take
the time to give blood. But every night
I go to bed and thank God that I get the
opportunity to do that.
But what if something had happened to my children or my grandchildren and theyre laying there and
they need that blood. They need that
O-negative or somebody you really care
about or somebody you really love.
Air ambulances are called out frequently, so much so that even the unit
that was supposed to be on site for the
press conference was unable to attend
because of a callout.
Armitage emphasized that being able
to equip every air ambulance with two
units of O-negative blood would save
countless lives and would provide those
working in the chopper the best chance
and tools for success.
I think if we saw a reghter that
had a garden hose, wed say why doesnt
that guy have a re hose? If we saw a
law enforcement ofcer going out with
a y swatter, wed say why doesnt that
guy have a rearm, he said. When we
send up our air ambulance teams with
salt water (saline), our answer has to be
lets get that person some O-negative
blood so they can do their job to the
best of their ability for our loved ones.
Armitage said that Oklahomans statistically already give their fair share of
blood, but the need for more is always
present.
Youve already got a worlds high
performance athlete and youre saying
set me a new world record, he said,
using an analogy to compare blood
donation needs.
OBI blood donation centers can be
found in Ardmore, Oklahoma City,
Ada, Edmond, Enid, Lawton, Norman
and Tulsa. Those wishing to donate are
encouraged to set up an appointment
at a nearby center or to attend a local
blood drive, which can be found by
calling (877) 340-8777 or visiting www.
obi.org.

Property of OPS News Tracker and members of the Oklahoma Press Association.