United Blood Services announces urgent need for Type O blood donors

United Blood Services last week announced an urgent appeal for type O blood donors in New Mexico and Southwest Colorado, joining a growing number of blood centers across the country that are encouraging blood donors to step up and help out during the final days of August and into September.

Donors may call (505) 246-1457 or visit www.UnitedBloodServices.org/nm to make a convenient appointment to donate.

Only six percent of the population has O-negative blood, yet patients of all blood types can safely receive it. O-positive is the most prevalent blood type - 37 percent of the population has it-so it is needed in greater quantities.

"O-negative can be given to anyone in an extreme emergency situation when there is no time to crossmatch the donor's blood with the patient's," explained Abraham Chacon with United Blood Services in Farmington, this area's non-profit community blood service provider. "Another special need for O-negative blood is in the treatment of babies. Neonatal care facilities require fresh units of O-negative blood each day to treat their tiny patients."

If eligible, type O donors can maximize their donation by giving a double red cell donation. Donors who give just their red blood cells through a special donation called apheresis can double the amount of red blood cells donated at one time.

"Every two to three seconds in this country, someone needs blood," Chacon said." And you never know when you or someone you love will be the one. We all expect blood to be available when we need it, but only a few of those who can give actually roll up their sleeves.

Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.