Blood drive yields 36 pints for local service provider

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There’s an old newspaper adage: If it bleeds, it leads.

Eric Heinz — El Defensor Chieftain: Peter Romero participates in the double, two pints, blood donation during the Battle of the Badges drive Aug. 19 at the Socorro Youth Center.

In this case it was drawn from the 31 donors who gave a total 36 pints of blood Aug. 19 at the Socorro Youth Center.

United Blood Services, the area blood service provider, administered the blood donations.

Eric Heinz — El Defensor Chieftain: Phlebotomist Shawntay Wiggins of United Blood Services checks a donor’s needle.

Battle of the Badges blood drive is an initiative to encourage people in the community to donate blood to the blood service provider.

Currently, the area’s blood bank is experiencing a shortage of O-negative blood, causing them to announce and appeal, or call, for donors.

A press release from United Blood Services stated only 6 percent of the population has O-negative blood, but because it is a universal donor, it can be administered to anyone at any time.

“O-negative can be given to anyone in an extreme emergency situation when there is no time to cross-match the donor’s blood with the patient’s,” Abraham Chacon, UBS regional donor recruitment director, stated in the press release. “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.”

O-negative donors could also do a double donation in which two pints of red cells are stored.

Carol Palmer has become instrumental in local blood drives.

“I would say I’ve donated about 20 times,” Palmer said. “I started because I was a teacher at the (Socorro) High School, and the National Honors Society sponsors blood drives throughout the year. I try to do at least two, maybe three donations a year.”

The release stated volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old and weigh a minimum 110 pounds. There are additional weight requirements for donors younger than 22; 16-year-old donors must have a signed permission from a parent or guardian.

During the event, people voted for their favorite civil service in the area. The Socorro Fire Department had the most votes with 23.