Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Number 3

In the wake of the bombing in Boston, I can’t get the figure 3 out of my head.

That is the number of fatalities so far.  That is also the percentage of Americans who give blood according to the American Red Cross.

One blood donation can save up to 3 lives.  Those hurt in Boston may on average require 100 blood donations each.

Yet, even without crimes such as the one near the end of the Boston Marathon this week, someone in the U.S. needs blood every 2 seconds.

The average transfusion requires three times the maximum amount of blood that can be donated by an individual age 17 and over once every 56 days.  Humans produce twice that amount of spit each day.

Only 37% of Americans are eligible to donate blood.

Approximately 44,000 units of blood are needed daily in hospitals and emergency rooms.

Only 6.6% of the population, including only 4% of African Americans and Hispanics has a blood type that can be used for anyone in emergencies such those treated after the explosions in Boston.

However, universal donors can only use o-negative blood.

The percentage that donates blood (3%) is similar to the percentage of Americans who intentionally litter (4%,) although I doubt they are the same individuals.

It is also just shy of the percentage of blood donors who do not vote.

It is also just shy of the percentage that Americans represent of the earth’s population and yet we generate 40% of the world’s household waste (this is also the percentage of the blood supply collected and distributed by the American Red Cross.)

It is about half of the percentage of blood (8%) that is taken from the average male during a donation.

It is the percent of a day that it takes to make a donation the first time (one hour – and most of that is prep.)

By some comparison, sometimes 3% seems huge.

The 3% who donate blood is 15 times the tiny percentage of consumers who still find outdoor billboards useful leading many to characterize these forms of blight as “litter on a stick.”

Click here to see if you are eligible to donate.

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