Supply Chain Issues Impacts Universal Blood Type

November 16, 2022

O negative donors needed


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Blood Institute is losing hundreds of O negative blood units a month due to recent blood bag shortages. O negative is the only universal blood type, which means it can be transfused into any blood recipient regardless of blood type.

Blood bags are essential to draw blood from a donor. Without them, OBI is struggling to collect enough O negative blood, and more donors must be recruited to make up for the productivity losses and ensure patient needs are met.

O negative blood is by far the most in-demand type used by area hospitals. This is an urgent supply chain issue that will impact area hospitals’ ability to care for patients such trauma patients, premature babies and immune-deficient newborns unless more O negative donors step up to donate blood.

“O negative donations are a backbone of our collection,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of OBI. “When we don’t have the specialty bags we need to collect these units, we put our emergency response capabilities at risk.”

These supply chain issues have exacerbated an already tenuous situation as OBI enters the holiday season. “Donation rates around the holidays are typically lower, and we’re fighting with a hand tied behind our back,” said Armitage.

“The supply chain foul ups aren’t likely to get better anytime soon. Broken manufacturing and delivery pipelines are never good, but in the blood world they put lives and patient care at risk,” he said.

To get the O negative blood supply back in a healthy range, more Oklahomans are needed to respond by giving blood. Donating blood takes about an hour and can save up to three lives, according to the Oklahoma Blood Institute. Donors can make appointments and find donation locations at obi.org or by calling 877-340-8777. Oklahoma Blood Institute is the sixth-largest independent blood center in the nation, providing more than 90 percent of Oklahoma’s blood supply to more than 160 hospitals and medical facilities.

*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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