Friday, May 29, 2009

Buckets of blood products!

I donated platelets this morning at the Indiana Blood Center, and when I finished they informed me that I had just donated my fifteenth gallon of blood products, spread over the last twenty years or so. One pint at a time, that's 120 donations. That equals three five-gallon buckets full to the brim, or 160 12-ounce soda cans full of blood and platelets. I'm still far from my grandfather's record of over fifty gallons, but I'm working on it.

In honor of my 384 five-ounce wine glasses of bodily fluids, here's my favorite piece of blood trivia:

Somewhere between 9% and 11% of your body weight is blood. Blood weighs, roughly, 8.5 pounds per gallon. And you can lose as much as a third of your blood at once, and as much as half over a longer period of time, before you're at risk of exsanguination (bleeding to death). So, if you weigh 170 pounds, roughly 17 pounds of that is blood. 17 pounds is two gallons. So, you'd need to lose over 10 cups of blood before you need to worry about bleeding to death. Remember this the next time you see someone cut themselves and complain about bleeding to death. Then remind them that our hypothetical 170-pound person would have to bleed a puddle 1/16" deep and close to five feet across before they need to worry about dying of blood loss....

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