MedWatch- Donating blood saves lives right here in our community from Medwatch 7 KSWO on Vimeo.

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Forty years ago, a group of doctors got together to address the need for a blood supply in Oklahoma. Surgeries were being canceled because there was no blood for patients who needed it. So, they formed a nonprofit group called the Oklahoma Blood Institute, and they’ve been saving lives ever since.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute provides 95 percent of the blood supply to hospitals in Oklahoma, which is why there is always a need for donations.

“I’ve seen many, many times the effect the blood supply has on our patients. I’ve seen it save lives many times,” said Connie Bryant, CCMH Lab Director.

Connie Bryant is the Lab Director for Comanche County Memorial Hospital, and she says the Oklahoma Blood Institute is the sole provider for their blood supply and that it’s always important for the hospital to be prepared for the worst.

“This time of year it’s tornado season, so you never know when we’re going to have some kind of external disaster that might also require a large amount of blood supply,” said Bryant.

Donating blood is very simple. The first thing you do is answer a series of questions. And then the blood drawing is only about 15 minutes. Time that is well worth it.

“One pint of blood will save three people‚Äôs lives,” said Christi Chambers, Oklahoma Blood Institute.

“There’s a whole range of people that need blood out there. And a lot of times it’s unexpected. It could be a car wreck, a gunshot wound, stabbing. On occasion, we’ve had industrial accidents here locally that have taken a large amount of our blood supply. So, you never really know when you’re going to need it,” explained Bryant.

Christi Chambers, an account consultant for OBI says when you donate with them, rest assured your blood stays inside the OBI system, helping local Oklahomans and North Texans. Not only does OBI provide for the hospitals in Oklahoma like CCMH…

“We also provide for the military. For the folks that are down range, it’s good for you. It gives you that good feeling of community that you’re helping more than just yourself. You’re going beyond your you. It’s being part of a whole, instead of being part the individual,” said Chambers.

If that’s not reason enough to give, those who donate will get a free t-shirt. And you can choose from purple, green, or blue like me. CCMH will be hosting a blood drive at the hospital this Tuesday April 25th, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 in the Oakwood room. Walk ins are welcome but, if you do need to make an appointment, you can call the hospital at 580-355-8620 and ask for guest relations.

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