Lifeguard Patient Gives Blood Back

Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell, Allie Thompson, 272-3690 office

Among the many heroes donating blood at the Lifeguard Expanded Service demonstration will be a man who 19 years ago relied upon the same services to save his life. Mark Newman, a former patient of UNM Hospital Lifeguard, will donate his blood to the United Blood Services (UBS) on Thursday, August 12, at an event held by UNM Hospital Lifeguard and UBS.

In 1985 Newman was riding his 10-speed bike down Crest Road in the Sandia Mountains when he lost control. His accident resulted in a severed bicep and punctured arteries. Upon arrival of the ambulance 45 minutes later, Newman requested that paramedics contact the UNM Lifeguard services.  Barely three years into its Albuquerque operation, UNM Lifeguard had Newman to the hospital in six minutes.

"While on the flight, I received some of the 13 units of plasma I received that day," Newman said.  "The blood available on that UNM Lifeguard flight saved my life. Without blood on board, I would not be here today. "

After six hours of emergency surgery and almost two weeks in the hospital, Newman had a new appreciation for the flight emergency paramedics that helped save his life. In the 19 years since his accident, Newman has donated his blood many times hoping that he can contribute to another individual's lifesaving blood transplant.

UNM Lifeguard carries UBS Type O blood on every emergency flight. During summer, there is a special increased need for blood donations, said UBS Executive Director Elizabeth Waltman. To find blood donation sites, call UBS at 1-800-333-8037.

"The flight crew aboard UNM Hospital Lifeguard was professional, efficient and caring," Newman said. "The skills they provided were nothing short of lifesaving."

Lifeguard Air Emergency Services was the first program in New Mexico and the second in the nation to receive accreditation from the Commission on the Accreditation of Medical Transport Services. Lifeguard is an active member of the Association of Air Medical Services.

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