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Teacher walkout could unintentionally impact the blood supply

Teacher walkout could unintentionally impact the blood supply (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- The Oklahoma teacher walkout could have an unintended impact on the state's medical system.

About 20 percent of the donations to our blood banks come from drives that are done at Oklahoma high schools.

The Tulsa Red Cross says they've canceled four school drives so far.

So the Oklahoma Blood Institute has moved the drives to other locations, such as community centers.

On Friday afternoon, they were busy at the OBI office at 81st and Yale.

The staff says the blood supply is currently steady, thanks to a drop in demand that has coincided with the walkout.

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But they are carefully watching the supply levels because they're facing a very unusual situation.

Murry Estabrook is a teacher who runs the blood drives at Claremore High School.

He says moving last Monday's drive off-campus hurt donations.

During a normal drive, Estabrook says they usually get about 150 units, but due to the last-minute change they only took in 66 units.

"If the other schools are struggling to get the numbers that's gonna really hurt what we have in the blood banks," he said.

Statewide, the OBI normally holds 30 school drives every month.

They'll be happy to have the help of anyone who's healthy and able to give.

"Come in and give," OBI Events Coordinator Acacia Stube said. "Donors can donate six times a year. Ten percent of the population who are able to give, only gives once a year."

Estabrook knows how important the donations are because just six weeks ago his new granddaughter, Kali, was saved by transfusions.

"We're sitting in St. Francis watching her get transfusions and praying it's enough to keep her from bleeding out and dying on us," he said.

Fortunately after three transfusions over several days, little Kali is doing fine.

Her grandfather has worked on blood drives for 30 years and now he has a new heartfelt appreciation for their importance.

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